India’s coal imports decline by almost 30% to 48.84 million tonnes in the first quarter of FY 2020-21: mjunction

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The country’s coal imports registered a drop of 29.7 per cent to 48.84 million tonnes (MT) in the April-June period of the ongoing financial year, according to industry data.

India had imported 69.54 MT of coal in the April-June period of 2019-20, according to provisional compilation by mjunction, a B2B e-commerce joint venture between Tata Steel and SAIL that also publishes research reports on coal and steel verticals.

The drop in imports assumes significance in the wake of the government mandating state-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) to replace at least 100 million tonne (MT) of imports with domestically-produced coal in 2020-21.

The country’s coal imports also dropped 22.5 per cent to 15.22 MT last month, against 19.64 MT of coal imported in June last fiscal, it said.

“The weak trend in imports is in line with market expectation, given the continued high stockpile of coal in the system. The plunge in thermal power sector’s PLF (plant load factor) in the past couple of months and the sharp decline in cement output do not augur well for import demand in coming month,” mjunction MD and CEO Vinaya Varma said.

Last month in June, the import stood at 15.22 MT (provisional), compared to 16.54 MT (revised) imported in May 2020. Of the total imports in June 2020, non-coking coal was at 10.06 MT, against 10.54 MT imported in May 2020. Coking coal imports were at 2.84 MT in June 2020, down against 3.18 MT imported a month ago.

During the April-June 2020 period, non-coking coal imports stood at 32.88 MT as compared to 48.48 MT during the year-ago period. Coking coal imports stood at 9.26 MT during April-June, down from 12.91 MT imported during April-June period of 2019-20, it said.

India is expected to save around Rs 30,000 crore annually on import bill of thermal coal on account of commercial mining of blocks, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi had earlier said.

Last month, the government began the process of auction of coal blocks for commercial mining and put on sale 41 blocks.

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