India's coal imports drop again despite acute shortage in utilities Import & Export,  International 2021-10-19 10:28:04

India's coal imports registered a year-on-year decline of 2.7% in August, although the country's power plants were in acute shortages of the fuel, according to data compiled by mjunction services.

India imported 15.22 million tonnes of coal in the month, compared with 15.64 million tonnes a year ago. The volume also fell 6.71% from 16.31 million tonnes in July, data showed.

Mjunction CEO and MD Vinaya Varma attributed the decline in volumes to the steady increase in seaborne coal prices coupled with the initiatives taken by the domestic miners for import substitution. However, he said, there is a spurt in demand from the power sector. "What impact it will have on imports, given the volatility in international prices, is to be seen," he added.

Of the total coal imports in August, 9.08 million tonnes were non-coking coal, down 12.1% from 10.33 million tonnes a year ago, while the coking coal imports rose 37.85% on the year to 4.37 million tonnes.

The country's coal imports totaled 92.49 million tonnes in first five months of current fiscal year (April-August), rising 21.27% year on year.

Imports of non-coking coal rose 18.25% on the year to 60.58 million tonnes during the given period, while coking coal intakes jumped 54.31% from the previous year to 22.19 million tonnes.

Coal production from Coal India Ltd. accounts for 80% of India's total output. Due to surging coal prices in international market, buyers have been vying for domestic material, boosting the demand.

Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said there is no need to panic for the closure of some mines, and inundation of a few others due to monsoon, as the situation is improving.

(Writing by Rebecca Liu  Editing by Tammy Yang)
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