Coal import falls 9% to 17.32 MT in April

India’s coal import fell by 9 per cent to 17.32 million to­nnes in April on the back of ample supply of dry fuel fr­om domestic sources. “Coal import (all types of coal) in April 2018 stood at 17.32 million tonnes (provisional), about 9 per cent lower than 19.08 million tonnes recorded for April 2017,” mjunction services, a joint venture between Tata Steel and SAIL, said in a statement.

Import demand from ­ power plants remained low due to ample supply from domestic sources, mjunction CEO Vinaya Varma said while commenting on the coal import trend. “In the met coal market, buyers were tentative in view of the high volatility in pri­ces. Also, pet coke demand was low as the users have been switching to US coal to avoid pollution issues,” Varma said.

Of the 17.32 million ton­nes dry fuel imported, the import of non-coking coal was 12.3 million tonnes, followed by coking coal at 3.5 million tonnes.

The lower volume of coal and coke imports in April co­uld be attributed to a fall in non-coking coal and pet co­ke imports during the month under review. Also, met coal imports remained flat on a yearly basis, and subdued against the previous month, mjunction services said. World Coal Association chief executive Benjamin Sporton had earlier said that in FY19 India will see rise in coal imports. “And essentially the main reason why India will see increase in imports would be increase in demand of coal from the power generation. Increase in imports is because it’s needed,” a global coal trade association had said.

The government had this month decided to augment coal supplies to centre/state power plants and independent power producers (IPPs) from May 19 to June 30 to overcome shortage of the dry fuel and check power crisis.

The decision was taken in a joint meeting of power, coal and railways ministries on May 17, 2018.