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India Cuts Dependence on Australian Coking Coal - Coal Ministry

Jul 1,2019

India coal ministry data review showed that shipments of coking coal from the United States and Canada to India jumped during the year ended March 2019, as steelmakers in the coal-consuming country look to cut their dependence on Australia. Australia's share in India's coking coal market fell to 36.91 million tonnes or 71 percent, during the year ended March 2019 from about 88 percent three years ago. The United States and Canada had a 5.6 percent share of the market three years ago. The Indian figures came a day after customs data revealed China's imports of Australian coking coal almost halved in May from a month earlier, as buyers held off purchases because of uncertainty regarding government policy on Australian imports.


Regular interruptions in Australia, including a flood in northern Queensland major coal producing region in February and a cyclone which tore into the state in 2017, have caused worries in India about major supply disruptions. Australia has been India's main supplier over the last few years.


Overall Indian coking coal imports rose 10.3 percent to 51.84 million tonnes, while imports of thermal coal mostly used by utilities rose 13.7 percent during 2018-19. Higher Indian coal imports are a boon for international miners such as Indonesia's Adaro Energy, Australia's Whitehaven Coal, US coal miner Peabody Energy and global commodity merchants such as Glencore.


India expects its coking coal demand to more than double in 10 years as the country plans to increase its crude steel production to 300 million tonnes by 2030 from the current annual production of 132 million tonnes. Indian steelmakers import the bulk of their coking coal needs due to scarce domestic production. The country imported 4.29 million tonnes of coking coal from Canada during 2018/19, accounting for 8.27 percent of overall India-bound shipments of 51.84 million tonnes.


Coking coal imports from the United States were 4.13 million tonnes or 8 percent of all shipments to India of the fuel. Indonesia remained the top supplier of thermal coal in 2018-19, accounting for three-fifths, or 111.6 million tonnes. Imports of thermal coal from the United States jumped by almost a quarter to 10.84 million tonnes, the largest gain by a country in percentage terms. Indonesian coal imports rose 18 percent.