BEIJING Jan 13 China's coal imports dipped
slightly in December from the previous month but were still up
more than 50 percent from a year ago at 26.84 million tonnes,
official customs data showed on Friday.
For 2016, China's coal imports rose 25.2 percent from a year
earlier to 255.5 million tonnes, reflecting China's campaign to
reduce overcapacity in the domestic coal sector.
December imports were just below below November's 26.97
million tonnes, after Beijing eased curbs on production in
November in a bid to boost winter supplies and ease volatile
Analysts have forecast that the pace of coal imports could
slow in 2017 as the restart of domestic coal mines dampens
demand for imports.
"Strong December imports reflected increased demand from
utilities as they increased stockpilling ahead of the coming
Lunar New Year," said Wang Fei, a coal analyst with Huaan
"We are expecting China's coal imports to drop another 10-20
percent on month from December in the January and Feburary
period. Power plants' coal consumption usually reaches the
lowest level in that period as the Lunar New Year disrupts
China's efforts to clean up overcapacity unexpectedly
triggered a rally in domestic coal prices as well as
international coal prices.
(Reporting by Meng Meng and Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by