07 Apr 2020

South Korea's Thermal Coal Imports to Sink 19.2% to Decade-Low

07 Apr 2020  by   

The country imposed tougher restrictions on coal power from December 2019 to March.

South Korea’s first-quarter thermal coal imports are set to fall to a decade-low due to stricter air pollution measures, whilst the coronavirus outbreak has reduced the country’s demand for electricity.

South Korea, the world’s no.4 coal importer, is expected to import around 19.85 million tonnes of thermal coal for the first three months, down 19.2% year-on-year, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data and ship tracking data from Refinitiv Eikon.

That would be the country’s lowest first-quarter imports since 2010 when it imported 19.55 million tonnes. Demand is normally high during the quarter, which covers the winter months, running at 24-26 million tonnes over the past three years.

The drop in imports comes after South Korea imposed tougher restrictions on coal-fired power from December through March, halting nearly half of the country’s 60 coal power plants by March as part of efforts to improve air quality.

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