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Coal imports surged by 40 per cent to 19.18 million tonnes (MT) in November, mainly due to pick up in demand for winter restocking and low coal stock position in power plants. "Coal import (all type of coals) in November 2017 stood at 19.18 MT (provisional), against 13.70 MT in November 2016 and 19.77 MT in October 2017," as per the latest data by m- junction services. The higher volume of imports is mainly due to 4.18 MT increase in non-coking coal imports during the month under review, the data showed. There was also a healthy growth in coking coal imports in November 2017 on a yearly basis. "The demand for winter restocking and the low coal stock position at power plants led to the high volumes in non-coking coal import.
Also, the uptrend in coking coal prices coupled with supply concerns saw the buyers taking fresh positions in that market," mjunction CEO Vinaya Varma said. Of the 19.18 MT of coal imported in November, 13.15 MT was non-coking coal, followed by coking coal at 3.9 MT, among others. In April, the first month of the current fiscal, India's coal imports declined marginally to 19.08 MT as against 19.63 MT in the same month of 2016-17. In May, it came down to 18.38 MT as against 19.38 MT in the same month a year ago. In June the imports again dropped to 18.22 MT from 21.50 MT in the year-ago period. In July, it stood at 14.64 MT, down from 19.15 MT. In August, coal imports slipped to 18.80 MT compared to 19.75 MT same month of 2016-17. In September, it rose by 9.5 per cent to 18.33 MT), after having registered year-on-year decline for five months in a row, as some power plants faced fuel shortages. However, in October, it was flat at 16.65 MT, underpinned by cautious buying of the fossil fuel by consumers due to high prices in the overseas market. Coal imports witnessed a decline of 6.37 per cent at 191.95 MT in 2016-17 on higher production by Coal India Ltd that saw the country moving to a regime of surplus coal. Coal India accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic coal production.