Japanese imports grim news for coal

JAPANESE coal imports have dived 8.7% in January, according to Japan’s Ministry of Finance.
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Blair Price

According to Dow Jones Newswires, the figures reveal an 8.7% drop in total coal imports to 16.12 million tons, with thermal coal sinking 2.4% to 8.98Mt.

Given the smaller fall in thermal coal, the outlook for metallurgical coal does not look rosy as Australian coal producers negotiate fixed export contracts for the next Japanese financial year starting in April.

The New York Times reported that Japan’s total exports fell 46% while total imports dropped 32% last month, when compared to January 2008.

Earlier this month, official Japanese figures revealed the nation’s economy fell at an annualised level of 12.7% in the last quarter of 2008.

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