SINGAPORE, Jan 20 (Reuters) – China’s coal imports from Russia plunged in December as logistics issues and a bad winter in Russia curbed shipments and weakened Chinese demand amid a surge in COVID infections.

Some 6.89 million tonnes of Russian coal reached China last month, down from 7.16 million tonnes in November, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Friday. But it was still higher than the 4.08 million tonnes in the same period in 2021.

Russian coal exports have been hampered in recent months by transport bottlenecks, while cold weather has made loading and shipping more difficult.

But for the full year of 2022, China’s coal imports from Russia are set to rise 20% from a year earlier to 68.06 million tonnes, as Western countries shut down trade with Moscow following the Ukraine crisis, forcing Russia to shift its cargo. forced to divert and sell them at a huge discount. ,

Indonesia remains China’s top coal supplier in December and into 2022 as Chinese utilities favor its low-sulfur and low-ash thermal coal.

Indonesian coal arrivals last month stood at 17.53 million tonnes, down from 20.04 million tonnes in November.

During the January-December period, China’s imports totaled 170.71 million tonnes, down 12.6% from 2021.

Friday’s customs data showed no coal imports from Australia in December.

Beijing has allowed three utilities and China’s biggest steelmaker to buy Australian coal, the first step since imposing an informal ban on coal trade with Canberra in 2020. Read more

The first Australian coal cargo is expected to arrive in China in early February after import restrictions are partially lifted. read more

Coal shipments from Mongolia, mainly coking coal for steelmaking, totaled 4.99 million tonnes in December, up from only 947,993 tonnes a year earlier.

For the full year of 2022, China is set to take a total of 31.15 million tonnes of Mongolian coal, nearly double the 2021 level as COVID-related restrictions are eased.

Reporting by Muyu Xu; Editing by Kim Coghill

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Doctrine.

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