BEIJING, July 5 (Xinhua) -- China's coal imports surged 114.3 percent year on year to 68.98 million tonnes in the Jan.-May period on the back of strong industrial demand, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said Monday.
In a statement posted on its website, the MIIT attributed the increased demand to the power, steel, cement and chemical fertilizer industries.
Boosted by robust economic growth, limited supply and summer's high electricity consumption, coal imports will grow over coming months, analysts said, underpinning the global coal price.
On May 28, 2010, the price of coal at Australia's Newcastle port was 97.8 U.S. dollars per tonne, 13 dollars higher than January, the MIIT statement said.
Coal prices increased 4.7 percent month on month in May, a rate of increase 3.5 percentage points higher than the previous month.
China was a net coal exporter in the decades before 2007.
In 2009, China imported 126 million tonnes of coal and exported 22 million tonnes. Those imports accounted for more than one fifth of the world's total coal trade.