Coal imports fell by 25 per cent to 14.31 million tonnes in December, due to higher availability of domestic fuel. The country had imported 19.15 million tonnes of coal in December 2015.
“Coal import (all type of coals) in December 2016 stood at 14.31 million tonnes (provisional) against 19.15 MT in December 2015,” mjunction, an online procurement and sales platform floated jointly by state-run SAIL and Tata Steel said.
The coal import in November, 2016 was at 12.51 MT. “…year-on-year imports were lower because public sector power generation companies have virtually stopped buying imported coal as they are getting almost sufficient supplies of domestic coal,” mjunction CEO Vinaya Varma said. M junction is a joint venture between Tata Steel and Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL).
Further, Varma said, there was sharp increase in non-coking coal imports in December as compared to November last year as non-power sector consumers started stocking up the material in the aftermath of softness in international prices towards end of November.
“International coal prices softened by 15 per cent in the first week of December 2016 compared with the prices prevailing in the third week of November and this prompted price-sensitive Indian consumers to bring in higher quantities of imported coal that has consistency in quality,” Verma added.
Expressing concern over import of coal despite being surplus in the dry fuel, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal had earlier said that Coal India has set a target to replace about 15 MT of imported coal with indigenous fuel in the next few months.
Helped by a record coal production by the world’s largest coal miner Coal India, India reduced its import bill of the dry fuel by more than Rs. 28,000 crore in the last fiscal.