China’s coal imports hit new high

China’s coal imports in October nearly doubled from a year ago. According to customs figures released Sunday, China imported nearly twice as much coal in October as it did a year earlier, despite signals that the country’s power shortfall is improving.

According to statistics available through Wind Information, monthly coal purchases hit 26.9 million tons in October, jumping 96.2 percent from a year before. However, this was down 18.2 percent from September’s 32.9 million tons.

Since late September, when many firms were forced to halt operations due to a coal scarcity, Chinese officials have hastened to remedy the problem. According to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the number of Chinese provinces experiencing serious power shortages had dropped to two by mid-October, down from 18 at the start of the month.

China’s State Grid said on Sunday that electricity supply and demand in its regions of operation had returned to normal, but cautioned that the coming winter months will be challenging.

On a nation basis, the United States was China’s greatest trading partner. According to China customs statistics, imports from the United States fell by almost 4.6 percent year on year in October, while exports to the United States increased by nearly 22.7 percent.

According to customs statistics, imports from Australia, which was formerly China’s top coal supplier, fell to 24.3 percent year on year in October, down from 50.7 percent in September. Exports increased by 22.3 percent in October, a little decrease from the previous month’s 23.8 percent.

China’s overall imports increased by 20.6 percent in October, falling short of estimates of a 25% increase. China’s exports increased by 27.1 percent, above the 24.5 percent expected by Reuters.

Exports are particularly crucial to monitor since they have been China’s single greatest growth engine for the previous year and a half, according to Ting Lu, Nomura’s senior China economist.

Lu believes that China’s exports climbed by just 7% year over year in Octoberexcluding a spike in producer pricesChina’s producer pricing index for the previous month is expected to be released on Wednesday.