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India, China guzzling on coal imports

Coal imports by India and China reached multi-year highs in May 2019, despite the shift being made towards renewable sources. Together, they accounted for a share of over 50% of thermal coal imports via the sea route as compared to 45% around an year ago. Factors driving this surge in purchases are the sharp drop in international coal prices and strong industrial demand in both countries. 

The price of year-ahead benchmark API2 thermal coal futures is around 1/3rd of the peak in 2018 at US$ 65.25 per tonne. This has made overseas imports of coal highly lucrative. India’s thermal coal imports are expected to grow at a rate of 22-24% during the first five months of 2019.