But that would still be lower than the level in 2007, when volumes sent to China totalled about 2.5-3 million tonnes, said Hendri Tan, assistant vice president of the company’s China and North Asia marketing department.
Most of Banpu’s coal comes from its mines in Indonesia, which last year exported 11.5 million tonnes of coal to China.
China’s coal imports soared to record high in March at 5.72 million tonnes, according to official customs data, since international prices have slumped because of the global slowdown and because China’s miners have yet to lock big local power producers into term contracts for the year.
“China’s coal import spree is likely to continue at least through this year,” said Hartono Widjaja, senior vice president of Marketing China & North Asia.
“The renminbi is strong and China’s domestic coal production cost is not low any more. International coal is very competitive in terms of price in southern ports,” said Widjaja.
But other traders have said they are less optimistic, as they find the window for coal imports short and unpredictable. (Reporting by Rujun Shen and Tom Miles)
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