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Japan’s coal imports are poised to jump to the highest level in at least two years as the nation’s utilities turn to the dirtiest fossil fuel as a replacement for expensive liquefied natural gas.

More than 17.3 million tons of coal will be delivered to the country this month, said Edwin Toh, a dry bulk manager at energy intelligence firm Kpler. That would be the highest since December 2019, and about 5% above the five-year seasonal average, according to Japanese customs data.

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