New Delhi: India's coal import fell by 9 per cent to 17.32 million tonnes (MT) in April on the back of ample supply of dry fuel from domestic sources.
"Coal import (all types of coal) in April 2018 stood at 17.32 MT (provisional), about 9 per cent lower than 19.08 MT recorded for April 2017," mjunction services, a joint venture between Tata Steel and SAIL, said in a statement.
Import demand from thermal power plants remained low due to ample supply from domestic sources, mjunction CEO Vinaya Varma said while commenting on the coal import trend.
"In the met coal market, buyers were tentative in view of the high volatility in prices. Also, pet coke demand was low as the users have been switching to US coal to avoid pollution issues," Varma said.
Of the 17.32 MT dry fuel imported, the import of non-coking coal was 12.3 MT, followed by coking coal at 3.5 MT, among others. The lower volume of coal and coke imports in April could be attributed to a fall in non-coking coal and pet coke imports during the month under review. Also, met coal imports remained flat on a yearly basis, and subdued compared to the previous month, mjunction services said.
World Coal Association Chief Executive Benjamin Sporton had earlier told PTI that in FY'19 India will see rise in coal imports. "And essentially the main reason why India will see increase in imports would be increase in demand of coal from the power generation...increase in imports is because its needed," a global coal trade association had said.
The government had this month decided to augment coal supplies to centre/state power plants and independent power producers (IPPs) from May 19 to June 30 to overcome shortage of the dry fuel and check power crisis. The decision was taken in a joint meeting of power, coal and railways ministries on May 17, 2018.