Coal imports fall 7 per cent in April-December over power plants’ lower demand

India’s coal imports declined almost 7 per cent during the April-December period as power plants stocked up adequately on the fuel with improved domestic supplies.

Imports by state and central sector thermal power companies fell 40 per cent, although the purchases from overseas by private companies increased 5 per cent from the year-earlier period.

The nation imported 124 million tonnes of coal during the nine-month period compared with 132 million tonnes a year earlier.

NTPC was the largest importer among state-owned utilities, bringing in about 7 million tonnes of coal compared with 12 million tonnes previously.

Public sector companies imported 19.88 million tonnes of coal, while in the corresponding period a year earlier, the volume was 33.2 million tonnes.

The private sector’s coal imports increased to almost 104 million tonnes from 99 million tonnes.

Most private plants do not have confirmed supply contracts with Coal India or are located near ports and can buy imported coal, which is cheaper than domestic supplies.

Coal India has boosted production and increased supplies to power companies.

According to Central Electricity Authority data, power plants in India had 31 million tonnes of coal on December 31, more than double the level of 13 million tonnes a year earlier.

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