COLUMN-China’s first-half coal imports surge, Indonesia the winner – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – June 26, 2018)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, June 26 (Reuters) – China’s seaborne coal imports are on track to have surged by around 14 percent in the first half of the year, with Indonesia emerging as the big winner among exporters.

Imports are likely to be around 126.6 million tonnes in the first six months of this year, up from 111.3 million tonnes for the same period in 2017, according to vessel-tracking and port data compiled by Thomson Reuters Supply Chain and Commodity Forecasts.

It also appears that June may be the strongest month so far this year, with 22.1 million tonnes discharged, or in the process of discharging, as of Tuesday.

The final figure may be slightly higher, at around 25.9 million tonnes: The data is filtered only to show ships that have already discharged, are discharging or awaiting unloading, and more cargoes may be handled in the final days of June.

The strongest month so far this year for China’s coal imports from the seaborne market was March’s 23.2 million tonnes, according to the data. A look at the breakdown of where China is sourcing its coal reveals a surprise packet – Indonesia.

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