LITTLETON — Thermal coal imports into China, Japan and South Korea – three of the world’s largest coal users – hit their highest combined total in 16 months in December as the North Asian manufacturing powerhouses primed their economies for growth in 2023.
Economic momentum in these countries – which collectively accounted for nearly half of all thermal coal imports in 2021 – was subdued in 2022 as China’s strict zero-COVID measures stifled industrial activity across the world’s largest manufacturing base.
Japan and South Korea have extensive supply chain ties with China which meant that each country suffered slowdowns in both productivity and demand growth in 2022 as China’s COVID-19 curbs stifled movement of goods and people over much of the year.
But thanks to a slew of stimulus and easing measures passed by Beijing that are designed to kickstart a revival in China’s economy this year, factories and industries throughout North Asia are now also primed for a pick up.
To feed that anticipated sustained rise in output and consumption, each country…
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