(Bloomberg) -- Chinas imports of coal
and liquefied natural gas rose to a record in December as the
worlds biggest energy consumer sought to meet increased
demand for winter heating.
Coal imports, including lignite, gained 1% from a year
earlier to 35.46 million metric tons, according to data from
the General Administration of Customs in Beijing. The
previous record was set in December 2012. Overseas purchases
of LNG increased about 34% to 2.43 million tons, compared
with a high of 1.83 million a year ago.
Chinas consumption of the fuels, used to generate
electricity, typically peaks in its winter months. The
nations benchmark spot price for thermal coal climbed
to a range of 600 to 610 yuan a ton at the port of
Qinhuangdao in the week ended Dec. 29, the highest since
June, according to the China Coal Transport and Distribution
Domestic coal prices soared in the last two months as
local supplies were quite tight, Luo Xiangmei, a coal
analyst at ICIS-C1 Energy, said. This made overseas
coal more attractive for end-users.
Chinas diesel exports fell 15% last month from a year
ago to 307,152 tons, while imports dropped 99% to 758 tons,
the data show. Gasoline exports rose 32% to 325,990 tons.
Imports of fuel oil, used as a refinery feedstock
and to power ships, slid
to 1.24 million tons in December, the lowest level in four
months, according to the data. Thats down about 16%
from November and 54% lower from a year earlier. Full-year
purchases declined 13% to 23.5 million, the lowest since
China imported 28,000 tons of fuel oil from Iran last month,
the least in five months, the data show. Purchases from the
Persian Gulf country totaled 1.45 million for 2013. Russia
was the largest supplier for the year with 5.5 million tons,
Singapore shipped 4.2 million and Venezuela sold 3.9 million.