China's Thermal Coal Futures Rally on Tight Import Policy

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

April 16, 2018

© Igor Groshev / Adobe Stock

© Igor Groshev / Adobe Stock

China's most-active thermal coal futures jumped 2.9 percent on Monday, marking the biggest gain since August 2017, as concerns of tightening the import policy dampened outlook for foreign coal supplies ahead of summer.

Coal futures prices ended at 570 yuan per tonne after touching a two-week high of 578.8 yuan per tonne earlier in the session.

Futures rallied as traders took cues from a wider ban on coal imports after some ports in Fujian province put a temporary halt on them.

"Our company received instructions that Chuanshan anchorage under Ningbo port has banned docking by any vessel, which carries foreign coal supplies," said a manager with a coal trading company in Hangzhou, Zhejiang.

The Zhoushan port near Shanghai only allowed 2-3 coal ships to dock, reflecting tighter scrutiny of foreign supplies, the manager added.

Officials with Ningbo port and Zhoushan port could not be reached for comments.

"Market is playing catch-up today after news came out over the weekend that at least three provinces are considering curbing coal imports," a coal futures trader said.

Traders and analysts said curbs on foreign supplies could help lift domestic coal prices.

Thermal coal has plunged almost 20 percent from a record high of 681 yuan in January, with major utilities and steel mills reporting high inventories.

Reuters reported that the eastern Chinese province of Fujian has temporarily banned foreign coal imports into the small port of Luoyan from April 1.

(Reporting by Meng Meng and Aizhu Chen, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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