Coal imports to remain low in fourth quarter on high global prices

India’s coal imports are to remain tapered over the fourth quarter of 2020-21 on the back of elevated import prices leading the players to resort to higher domestic coal consumption over imported coal, especially for non-coking coal, according to India Ratings and Research.

The agency said in a statement overall coal imports were lower by 19 per cent year on year (yoy) in February 2021 to 56.5 MT, driven by 5.2 per cent month on month (mom) reduction in domestic power demand.

“Import prices are likely to remain elevated in the near term, with increasing supply concerns and poor weather conditions in Australia, logistics/rail issues in South Africa leading to a shortage and escalated sea freight rates amid the empty vessel shortage,” the company said.

It added that the share of imports in the total domestic consumption was 23.7 per cent over April-December 2020. While domestic coal production improved marginally in February 2021 to 67.5 MT, it was lower 6.1 per cent yoy. Overall, coal production and offtake were 2.9 per cent and 5.0 per cent lower yoy respectively over April 2020–February 2021.

The firm said the average import prices for thermal coal continued to rise in March this year, especially South African coal, which increased 8-9 per cent month-on-month.

ET Energy World
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