October 24, 2017 / 6:53 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-China coal imports from Russia in Sept rise 83 pct y/y -customs

* Shipments from Russia up 83 pct to 2.35 mln t

* Sept Australia imports 7.83 mln t

* Utilities in northeastern China restock for winter (Adds context)

BEIJING, Oct 24 (Reuters) - China’s September coal imports from Russia soared 83 percent from a year ago while arrivals from Australia rose 33.6 percent amid restocking demand from utilities in the northeast of the country ahead of winter.

Shipments from Russia COA-RUCN-IMP reached 2.35 million tonnes last month, just below the imports of 2.47 million tonnes in August, according to the data from the General Administration of Customs released on Tuesday.

The high level of imports came after some operators of coal-fired power plants in Heilongjiang province issued a plea to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) asking for help with securing coal supplies.

Thermal coal prices on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange soared to a record of 658.6 yuan ($99.30) a tonne on Sept.19, encouraging traders and utilities to find cheaper alternatives from foreign miners.

Arrivals from key supplier Australia COA-AUCN-IMP in September rose to 7.83 million tonnes, customs data showed.

Cargoes from Indonesia COA-IDCN-IMP fell 7.9 percent from a year earlier to 3.45 million tonnes, while imports from Mongolia COA-MNCN-IMP were down 9.1 percent from a year ago to 2.49 million tonnes.

In September, China imported 511,619 tonnes of coal from North Korea, down 71.6 percent from a year ago, the second month for which trade in the fuel with North Korea has been registered after a sales ban in February.

The country imported a total of 27.08 million tonnes of coal in September, highest since December 2014, as Beijing’s rigorous safety and environmental inspections across the country curbed output at domestic miners.

$1 = 6.6321 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by Muyu Xu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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