The world’s top coal consumer and importer has now seen increases for a second straight month, although some traders report most deals were inked in Q1 2013 and do not reflect a shrinking domestic supply. Moreover, a region wide glut has made imported coal cheaper while encouraging Chinese electricity suppliers to look overseas, according to customs data cited by Reuters.
Consequently, Indonesian imports jumped about 800,000 metric tons to 6.85 million metric tons last month, while Chinese traders sought low sulfur coal to blend with strong-quality domestic supplies. Chinese demand for thermal coal imports, in addition, is expected to fall with a forecast in decreased domestic prices.
U.S. shipments, meanwhile, nearly doubled in April to 1.05 million tons, although analysts noted these exports are unsustainable given high sulfur content in American coal supplies. With a population of 1.3 billion, China is poised to possess the world’s largest economy amid a firestorm of industrial growth with more than 250,000 power plants on the mainland.