* H2 coal imports may fall as much as a quarter -analysts * China already imposed strict curbs on coal imports * No sign of China to single out Australian coal imports -analysts By Muyu Xu and Melanie Burton BEIJING/MELBOURNE, May 20 (Reuters) – China is expected to tighten coal import rules in the second half of 2020 to shore up its struggling domestic industry, after record arrivals in the first four months, just as demand tanked because of the coronavirus outbreak. Imports could drop as much as a quarter in the second half from the corresponding 2019 period, analysts estimate, which is likely to boost pressure on major coal exporters, such as Australia, Indonesia and Russia, which are already battling weak demand because of the virus. China’s total coal consumption, including thermal and metallurgical coal, may reach 1.9 billion tonnes from July through December, said Yu Zhai, a senior consultant at Wood Mackenzie. Imports would account for about 80 million tonnes of that, or a quarter less than the 107 million in the corresponding 2019 period, Yu expects. James Stevenson, a senior director at IHS Markit, estimates China’s full-year coal imports could fall to 275 million tonnes, with thermal… Read full this story
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