China's coking coal imports fell to a five-month low in October due to a slowdown in the flow of Australian raw materials following an unofficial ban on coal imports from the country in early October.
China imported 5.89 million tons of coking coal in October, down 12.4% from 6.72 million tons in September, but 3.5% more than a year earlier, according to Chinese customs data. In January-October, imports fell 2% to 65.23 million tons.
Marine imports fell 7% year-on-year to 2.64 million tonnes in October, while seaborne imports rose 22% in January-October to 45.55 million tonnes.
Australian imports fell 21% from a year earlier and 23% from September to 1.53 million tonnes in October, their lowest level in 2020.
As a reminder, Beijing has warned its state-owned steel mills and power plants to halt imports of Australian coal with immediate effect in early October, adding to the uncertainty in spot markets that were expecting to ease restrictions in 2021.
China is actively replacing Australian raw materials in the import structure by increasing its imports from Mongolia, Canada and Russia. The state-owned steel mills of India also began to actively abandon Australian metallurgical coke, and metallurgists Tata Steel purchased the first test shipments of coke from the Russian Far East.