China’s coal imports fell 30 percent in 2015 on slowing economy

A slowing economy and efforts to control pollution has taken the heat out of China’s coal imports, which fell about 30 percent last year on poor demand, customs data showed.

Imports by the world’s biggest energy consumer dropped to 204.06 million metric tons last year, the least since 2011, data from the General Administration of Customs showed. Imports in December rose a second month to 17.6 million tons.

Coal demand has fallen as the govenrment comes down hard on pollution industries and tries to clean the air that has become a major cause for concern. The government is also cutting down on industrial overcapacity that is pinching as the economy continues to slow.

China, which has banned approvals of new mines from this year, plans to reduce coal’s share of its energy consumption by 2.2 percentage points to 62.6 percent this year, officials have said.

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