India's thermal coal imports in the second quarter declined 41.5% from the same period a year earlier, as power demand was heavily hit during the COVID-19 epidemic. Some participants predicted India's coal imports would not increase on a year-on-year in the short term.
Official data showed India's thermal coal imports in April-June slumped to approximately 32.9 million tonnes, impacted by lockdown measures. Imports of power companies decreased 41% on the year.
In the second quarter, coal represented 60% in India's total power generation, down from nearly 70% on average in 2019. Reuters reported that in the 2021 fiscal year ending March, India's electricity demand is expected to decline for the first time in 40 years.
India's coking coal imports in the second quarter fell 28.6% on the year to 9.71 million tonnes, data showed.
Reduction in coal imports is kind of good news for the Indian government, which has been seeking to scale down imports to boost domestic supply.
India's economy is struggling to recover amid the ongoing spread of COVID-19 virus. After a mild recovery of coal imports in July, India's coal imports fell again in August.
Data from Indian coal trader Iman Resources showed from January to August, India's thermal coal imports fell by nearly 20% year on year.
Vasudev Pamnani, a senior trader at Iman Resources, said he does not expect India's coal imports to increase year on year before the end of 2021.
Some traders also said that although India's coal-fired power generation showed signs of recovery in the first half of September due to rising demand from industrial states in western India, India's coal imports may not increase in the short term.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Harry Huo)
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