BEIJING, June 25 (Reuters) - China’s imports of Australian coking coal in May plunged 49.3% from a month earlier, customs data showed on Tuesday, as buyers held off purchases because of uncertainty regarding government policy on Australian imports.
Arrivals of Australian coking coal were at 1.38 million tonnes last month, down from 2.72 million tonnes in April, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs.
That compares to 2.09 million tonnes in May 2018.
Australian coal imports have been subject to delays because of extended inspections at ports amid trade tensions between China and Australia. The delayw do not appear to be easing.
“Market is cooling down after a temporary enthusiasm in April as imported coal was a lot cheaper compared to domestic coking coal. But traders now worry more about uncertain policy in the coming months,” said a Beijing-based trader.
“Also, with heightened production restrictions in northern China, demand of steel-making raw materials is expected to wane.”
China’s biggest steel producing city of Tangshan has imposed a new set of output restrictions on its iron and steel firms because of high industrial pollution levels.
Reporting by Muyu Xu and Shivani Singh; editing by Christian Schmollinger