Indian imports of Russian thermal coal rose by 72pc on the year, to 2.7mn t in January-September this year, shipping data show, in line with an increase in the country's total coal imports amid greater coal-fired demand early in the year.
Russia is a minor coal supplier to India, with a 2pc import share in January-September, up from a 1pc share in the same period last year, mainly because of lower supply from Australia. But Far East and Arctic development deputy minister Sergey Tyrtsev says Russian coal deliveries to India are projected to increase sixfold from last year to reach 28mn t by 2025.
Indian utilities are interested in purchasing Russian low-sulphur coal to blend with domestic high-sulphur coal, which reduces emissions. Russian exporters usually trade spot cargoes of coal to India at fixed prices.
A large Russian coal supplier to India says it plans to increase exports to India this year, but will stay flat or decline in 2020. "We mainly focus on the premium markets of Japan and South Korea, where freight costs are lower and profitability of these sales are higher. We tend to send the remainder to India," the supplier says.
Indian buyers increased total thermal coal imports by 11pc, or 13.9mn t, from a year earlier to 138.8mn t in the first nine months, despite almost flat coal-fired generation. Imports grew because of lower domestic coal output this year.
Both major suppliers — Indonesia and South Africa — lifted their shipments to India. But the US and Australia reduced supplies to the country.News Source: Argus Media