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China Coal-Import Growth Seen Halting on Better Inland Transport

Chinese demand growth for imported coal will almost halt next year before shipments contract in 2014 as the nation’s improving transport network allows domestic suppliers to gain market share, according to Barclays Plc.

China will increase purchases by 2.1 percent to 145 million metric tons in 2013 compared with a 39 percent expansion this year, Barclays analysts led by Trevor Sikorski in London said in an e-mailed report today. Shipments to the country will shrink by about 24 percent in 2014, according to the bank.

A slower rate of economic growth combined with improved transportation systems in China will start curbing its need for imports by the end of 2014, Barclays said. Global trade in the fuel and steel-making raw material will increase by about 4 percent to 901 million tons next year, the slowest rate of growth since 2008, according to Barclays.

The slower expansion will hurt demand for shipping at a time when there’s already a glut of vessels, meaning freight rates won’t improve much for the next two years, according to Barclays.

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