Strong demand by Chinese utilities helped push imports of Australian coal 9.4% higher in January to 7.94 million tonnes.
The General Administration of Customs data shows the figure was 8.07Mt in December.
Some Chinese coal-fired power plants have warned of tight supplies of coal as inventories fell below critical levels due to record daily consumption during the deep winter freeze, according to a report by Reuters.
“Imported coal will continue to play a key role as a supplement of domestic coal until mid-March as heating demand in northern China remain robust,” a Zhengzhou-based trader reportedly said.
China brought in a total of 27.81 Mt of coal in January, the highest level in four years.