BEIJING — China imported nearly twice as much coal in October as it did a year ago, despite signs the country’s power shortage is easing, according to customs data released Sunday. Monthly purchases of coal reached 26.9 million tons in October, up 96.2% from a year ago, according to data accessed through Wind Information.
However, that was down 18.2% from 32.9 million tons in September. Chinese authorities have rushed to address a coal shortage in the country since late September, after many factories were forced to cut production. By mid-October, the number of Chinese provinces with significant power shortages fell to two, down from 18 at the start of the month, according to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
On Sunday, China’s State Grid said power supply and demand in its areas of operation had returned to normal, but warned of challenges in the coming winter months. Data on China’s coal imports by country is due out later in November.
The U.S. remained China’s largest trading partner on a single-country basis. Imports from the U.S. slowed sharply to about 4.6% year-on-year in October, while exports to the U.S. maintained a high growth pace of nearly 22.7%, China customs data showed.