Coal imports in Asia’s biggest economy were 181m tonnes higher than in the previous year, while gas imports via pipeline and LNG grew 10% year on year to 120m tonnes (163bcm).
“Securing sufficient fuel for power generation kept coal imports strong throughout 2023,” ANZ bank said in a note.
As such, gas imports also hit a record high of 12m tonnes in December, it noted.
Dry bulk data analysis firm DBX said in a note that China’s power generation levels were expected to have surged in December, on the back of “freezing temperatures”.
It noted that while wind power generation had achieved a record monthly high in November of 80 TWh, hydropower generation remained “problematic”.
“The overall shortfall had to be met by thermal power production,” it added.
Looking ahead, DBX said China’s coal imports in January would likely remain relatively unchanged, with a slight uptick for coking coal and a slight decrease for thermal coal.