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North Korea shipped record coal to China in August

Despite sanctions due to North Korea's nuclear and missile tests, the country's coal exports to China reached a record high in August at 2.5 million tonnes, The Korea Herald reported Sept. 30, citing the Korea International Trade Association.

The August number exceeded the previous monthly record of 2.3 million tonnes in March.

In the same month, North Korea's shipments of steel and iron ore also rose year on year by 61.8% and 14.3%, respectively, to US$1.9 million and US$6.6 million.

The coal shipments, the biggest since 1998 when the compilation of related data began, rose as North Korea slashed prices, at US$45.55 per tonne versus US$64.96 per tonne in January, to boost its exports to its strongest ally. The August price was also 7.6% lower than China's overall import price for coal.

Coal exports for North Korea to China during August were valued at US$112 million, up 27.3% from a year earlier.

China allows coal from North Korea if it is for private use.