Feb 20, 2012 (Bloomberg) -- China's coal imports in January rose 3.9 percent from a year earlier to 19.7 million metric tons, the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association said, citing the customs bureau.
Excluding lignite, China's coal imports were at 16.4 million tons, down 23 percent from December's 21.4 million tons, the association said on its website today. The General Administration of Customs added lignite to its calculation starting this year, the group said.
Lower domestic coal prices and high stockpiles at power plants caused the decline in coal imports from a month earlier, the association said. China's customs bureau is due to release official January import data on Feb. 21.
Coal with an energy value of 5,500 kilocalories per kilogram at the port of Qinhuangdao, a domestic benchmark for spot rates, fell 2.5 percent since January to a range of 770 yuan to 780 yuan a ton as of Feb. 12, data from the association showed.