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BEIJING: China, the world’s top coal consumer, imported 44.3 million metric tons of the fuel last month, customs data showed, the highest amount in any month since 2015 at least, as coal-powered electricity demand increased to offset weak hydropower output.

The imports were up 12.9% on July and 53% higher from the same month a year earlier, the data showed. The August imports were higher than the previous record of 43.56 million metric tons reached in January 2020.

Demand for thermal coal used by the power sector was supported by low rainfall in the south of China, which saw output from hydropower facilities in provinces such as Sichuan and Yunnan slide.

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