First: China Top Coal Importer in 2011
Customs data showed that China leapfrogged Japan as the world’s top importer of coal in 2011, according to Reuters:
Japan had held the No.1 position since at least 1975 until 2010, the International Energy agency’s Coal Information showed.
China, also the world’s biggest coal producer and consumer, imported 182.4 million tonnes of the fuel in 2011, 10.8 percent higher than a year earlier, data from the country showed.
Japan’s customs-cleared imports fell 5.1 percent to 175.2 million tonnes last year, hurt by slack demand for coking coal as steelmakers curbed production.
It is unclear whether China will retain this position, however, as a Reuters poll last month showed the country’s coal imports are expected to grow at a slower pace in 2012, as domestic appetite moderates and home production rises.