China's imports of coal tar surged 303.25% from a year ago and 113.69% month on month to 13,009 tonnes in April, latest customs data showed.
This was partly ascribed to a sharp fall of global coal tar prices after oil prices slumped, which made the imported material more competitive than domestic supplies with prices comparatively firm amid the country' coke de-capacity move.
China produced 38.55 million tonnes of coke in April, down 1.3% year on year, and total output fell 2.9% to 148.35 million tonnes during the first four months. Output of coal tar, a key by-product of coke, was estimated at 5.93 million tonnes in January-April.
The import value of coal tar reached $2.75 million last month, which translated to an average import price of $211.67/t, down 28.5% from March and 44.9% from a year ago, data showed.
In January-April, China imported 26,521 tonnes of coal tar, with import prices at $7.36 million and an average import price of $277.69/t.
China imported most coal tar from Malaysia, at 12,504 tonnes, accounting for 96.12% of the country's total imports. The import amount came in at $2.35 million, with average import price of $187.56/t.
Imports from Germany stood at 401.85 tonnes and Japan at 102.64 tonnes, with average import prices of 820.52/t and 764.64/t respectively.
Hebei, known as the top steel-making province in China, purchases the most of coal tar among other provinces in April, with all imports originating from Malaysia. Total imports by the province were at 24,443 tonnes during the first four months, about 92.16% of China's total imports over the same period.
China exported 6,600 tonnes of coal tar in April, which were produced by Jiangsu province and sold to the U.S.
Coal tar exports in 2019 were only about 20,000 tonnes.
(Writing by Emma Yang Editing by Jessie Jia)
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