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12.6% jump in India’s thermal imports

Government data has revealed that India’s thermal coal imports rose 12.6% to nearly 200 million tonnes in 2019. This is the second consecutive year of growth in shipments of the fuel despite attempts by the government to cut imports. On the contrary, though, the imports of coking coal – used mainly in the manufacturing of steel – fell marginally from 51.63 million tonnes in 2018 to 51.33 million tonnes of coking coal in 2019, following two straight years of increase.

Of these total imports, Indonesia accounted for nearly 60% of India’s thermal coal imports in the April-December period; whereas South Africa accounted for 22%, and Russia and Australia accounting for over 5% each. Industry insiders attribute this high import to increased imports by Indian utilities & lower production by Coal India Ltd, whose output fell for five consecutive months ending November due to incessant rain and frequent outages including strikes by workers and locals.

India is the world’s largest consumer, importer and producer of coal.