Coal imports fall 20% in January, snap surging trend
The surging trend of coal imports in recent times snapped in January as shipments fell by 20 per cent over the previous month due to lower demand from domestic steel makers, as per mjunction data.
Online marketplace mjunction, a Tata Steel and SAIL joint venture, on Sunday said India’s coal imports in January stood at 15.73 million tonnes as against 19.75 MT in December, 2014.
The January imports, however, were a marginal 2 per cent more than the 15.37 MT imports in the same month of last year.
Of the total imports during January this year, non-coking coal was at 15.91 MT compared to 15.36 MT in December, led by higher demand from country’s fuel-hungry power plants, which have been battling fuel scarcity for a long time now.
Indian power companies had imported 163 MT stem coal out of the country’s total coal imports of 210.55 MT in the entire 2014, accounting for more than 77 per cent of imports.
However, the fall in imports of January was mainly due to lower demand from the country’s steel producers. Collectively, they imported 2.4 MT coking coal during the month compared to 3.2 MT in December. Coking coal is a key raw material in the making of steel.
Imports of metallurgical coke, which is also used by the steel firms, were down to 98,770 tonnes from 1.76 lakh tonnes.
Petroleum coke imports also decreased to 4.78 lakh tonnes from 6.9 lakh tonnes in December, 2014.
There was no pulverised coal (PCI) imports in January as per the provisional compilation, mjunction said, as against 2.9 lakh tonnes in the previous month.
Anthracite coal imports on the other hand rose to 52,293 tonnes in January from 33,190 tonnes in December 2014.
India’s imported coal stocks, including steam coal and coking coal at eight major and two private ports edged up 2.27 per cent to 8.207 MT in January-end against 8.025 MT as on December 26, mjunction said.
According to the data, non-coking coal stocks at Kolkata, Paradip, Vizag and Mundra, as on January 23, fell by 17 per cent to 3.1, from 3.8 MT as on December 26. Coking coal stocks increased sharply to 3.2 MT against 1.9 MT.