Some North Korean traders were offering low-price coal to Chinese traders and have stored up a number of cargoes at North Korean ports, expecting to deliver them over the border when a diplomatic breakthrough with US came into being, Reuters reported, citing three Chinese traders.
Official data showed China had imported no coal cargoes from the neighbor since last October. In 2016, coal imports from North Korea totaled 22.5 million tonnes that were worth $2 billion or so.
China reduced and then stopped coal imports from DPRK in accordance with UN's sanctions, resulted from several experiments of nuclear weapons and missiles in the country.
The Chinese traders said North Korea intended to re-open coal trades with China after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made a surprise visit to Beijing in March, adding the North Korean traders were poised for sales of a couple thousand tonnes of anthracite at the price of $30-40/t, which was less than 1/4 of the current Chinese domestic price for the same type.
A trader in northeastern China said coal price in North Korea was even lower during the Chinese Lunar New Year in February, which was less than $15/t.
"Now they have realized to hoard some cargoes," he added.
Currently, selling price of anthracite produced in Shanxi province reached about $160-172/t.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Tammy Yang)
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