China's coal imports are expected to fall this year because of increased output at home, a senior industry official said on April 10, seeking to quell concern that the top consumer of the fuel will expand efforts to curb arrivals from abroad.
Arrivals from abroad will be 250 million tonnes, down 8% from 271 million in 2017, said Zhao Jianguo, the vice chairman of China Coal Transport and Distribution Association, in a presentation at an industry conference.
But shipments will drop because of greater domestic supplies and lower demand, he said. Output is expected to rise 5%.
Executives at utilities are worried that customs will increase inspections of low-quality coal imports, such as those from Indonesia, potentially inflating prices, hurting their access to raw materials and denting profits.
Beijing has banned coal imports at some smaller ports in southern China starting this month in a move to boost domestic prices.
"There was panic about import curbs," said Zhao, referring to what he described as "temporary" measures at ports.
"As long as the import is legal, we won't use mandatory administrative measures to curb imports."
(Writing by Tammy Yang Editing by Jessie Jia)
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