Shipments reportedly jumped to nearly a five-year high in October © Getty Images / Dmitry Marchenko / EyeEm
Russia’s seaborne coal supplies have started growing again after the EU loosened curbs on transportation of the commodity, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing analytics firm Kpler.
According to the report, October shipments surpassed 16 million tons, nearly matching a five-year high recorded in July.
“It is possible that the EU’s clarification of their coal sanctions eased concerns from operators over whether they could transport Russian coal,” Filipe Gouveia, an analyst at international shipping firm Bimco, told the news outlet. He noted, however, that a pickup in demand from cost-sensitive markets had also contributed to the increase.
The EU ban on Russian coal came into force in August. However, in early September, the European Commission issued revised sanctions guidance, specifying that while Russian coal is not welcome in bloc countries, Brussels does not prohibit the provision of shipping, finance and insurance services to vessels delivering the coal outside of the EU.
According to Bloomberg, Russian shipments were immediately redirected to Asia. Chinese purchases of Russian coal reached their highest level on record in September at 8.54 million tons, a 57% year-on-year rise, according to data from China’s customs administration. This made Russia China’s second-largest coal supplier after Indonesia, with a 23% share of total imports.
Russia’s overall coal exports between January and September 2022 fell by 9% in annual terms to 147.7 million tons, according to a recent report by Vedomosti, citing data from Russia’s Energy Ministry. In 2021, the shipments amounted to 223 million tons, with 50.4 million tons destined for Europe, making up nearly half of the EU’s total coal imports. Officials say Russian coal companies are currently being forced to export the fossil fuel at a discount of between 50% and 60% to secure buyers amid foreign restrictions, but they remain profitable due to heightened domestic and international demand.
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