From Bloomberg News (Bloomberg) —
China will allow all domestic companies to import Australian coal, signaling an end to trade restrictions imposed in late 2020.
Ports and customs offices have been ordered to allow the cargoes, according to people familiar with the decision, who asked not to be identified because the information is not public. Earlier this year, the authorities announced four big allowing importers to resume buying Australian coal, which began shipping in January.
The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s economic planning agency, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
High-quality Australian coal is in high demand among China’s steelmakers and power plants. Imports could reach 1 million tons in the first half of March alone, according to China’s top coal lobby group. China is the world’s largest producer and consumer, and its imports of the fuel exceeded 290 million tons last year.
Australian coal mining stocks including Yancoal Australia Ltd. and New Hope Corp., cut losses following the news. Chinese coking coal futures extended decline.
China was a large consumer of Australian coal before enforcing its unofficial ban as political hostilities between the two countries escalated. Australian leaders have said ending the ban would: a important step in restoring relations between nations.
The thaw in relations between the two countries is a welcome development for Australian exporters of other commodities hit by a range of restrictions, including lobster, beef, barley and wine.
Australian lobster exporters are not seeing the same obstacles from Chinese authorities that previously existed, Australia’s Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said at a conference in Canberra last week. And there are early signs that barriers for shippers of beef and dairy products are beginning to ease, too, he said.
–Assisted by Dan Murtaugh and Keira Wright.
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