Customs data has shown China's coal imports fell 9.1% to 15.26 million t in February from the previous month. Shipments were hit by slower demand and quality inspections at Chinese ports, resulting in the drop.
Data from the General Administration of Customs showed that the total coal imports into China, the world's biggest consumer, slumped 33% from a year ago.
The mandatory new quality inspections, designed to reduce the inflow of low-grade coal as well as support struggling domestic miners, went into effect on 1 January.
With demand already weak, traders cut their cargo numbers until the details of the new policy became clear.
Chinese ports have been ordered to inspect all cargoes before they are passed on to buyers, a process that normally takes around 7-15 days.
"Tepid demand and the week-long Lunar New Year holiday have limited the rise in imports," said Wang Xufeng, an analyst at Shanxi Fenwei Energy Consulting Company.
Edited from source by Joseph Green
Source: Thomson Reuters
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