India’s September coal imports fall 27 percent to 12.6 MT

New Delhi, Oct 19 (IANS) India’s coal imports in September fell by 27.16 percent to 12.6 million tonnes (MT) from that in the same month a year ago on the back of rise in domestic

production, the government said on Monday.

“With unprecedented increase in coal production by Coal India, import of coal comes down for third successive month,” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup tweeted.

“Coal imports down from 17.3 MT in Sept 14 to 12.6 MT in Sept 15. In value terms from Rs 8,598 crore to Rs 6,027 crore, a reduction of 30 per cent,” he said in another tweet.

State miner Coal India had recorded an output of 494.23 MT in the last fiscal, which fell short of the production target by 3 percent. The target for the current fiscal is 550 MT.

In this connection, Moody’s Investors Service said on Monday that the fall in consumption of costly imported coal by Indian power producers is a key credit positive for the power sector and independent power producers (IPPs).

“However, the power sector faces persistent challenges, including uneven gas supplies, cost over-runs at some generating plants, and limited off-take in demand for their electricity from financially weak distribution utilities,” said Moody’s vice president Abhishek Tyagi.

“Some IPPs are also locked into power purchase agreements (PPAs) that have become unviable because they do not allow rising fuel costs to be passed through,” he said.

Coal India, which accounts for 82 percent of domestic coal output, raised its production by 7 percent in 2014-15, and by a further 9.4 percent in the first five months of the current fiscal.

The report said that assuming a compound annual growth rate of 7 percent in domestic output, power producers’ dependence on imports would to fall to 8 percent by 2019-20 from 25 percent currently, reversing the sharp rise in imports dependence between 2011 and 2015.

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