Exporters brush Chinese ban aside

Australia has overcome China’s alleged coal import ban, with exports increasing during December, according to Australian Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt.

The value of Australia’s coal exports increased by 26 per cent compared with November, with thermal coal accounting for most of the increase to meet demand during the northern hemisphere’s winter.

Pitt said this result was a demonstration to the resilience and hard work of the Australian resources industry to maintain full operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down many other industry sectors globally.

“Coal was worth $3.7 billion to the Australian economy in December alone as exporters looked to fill gaps in international markets and made the most of the increase in thermal coal prices,” Pitt said.

“Coal sales to Vietnam and India were stronger, reaffirming the competitiveness of Australian coal and its reputation for high quality in global markets.

“This again reinforces the importance of coal as an Australian export commodity and that it will remain so for many years to come.”

Australia’s resources and energy exports were valued at $272.5 billion in the 12 months to December 2020, as many worldwide economies recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic and resumed industrial development.

“The result is testament to the work of our resources industry,” Pitt said. “Many countries are looking to resume industrial production and that is good news for the Australian resources sector.”

China’s imports of Australian coal dropped by 47 per cent last October compared with the same time in 2019, as trade tensions escalated between the two nations and China reportedly banned several Australian imports, including coal.

In 2019, Australia supplied more than 57 per cent of China’s thermal coal and 40 per cent of its coking coal imports, according to International Energy Agency Clean Coal Centre.

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