India imports more thermal coal from Russia


India’s thermal coal receipts from Russia rose by 56pc on the year to 2.54mn t in the first nine months of 2018, Indian import data show.

Imports increased amid higher demand from utilities and industrial sector buyers, which turned to seaborne product because of limited domestic supplies.

Russia increased its share of India’s total thermal coal imports to 2pc in January-September from 1pc in the same period of last year. It is expected to maintain its position until the end of the year, as supplies may also have risen in November-December.

Indian utilities are interested in purchasing Russian low-sulphur coal to blend with domestic high-sulphur material, which helps to reduce emissions, a Russian coal supplier says.

Indian coal has a sulphur content of around 3pc, while material from Russia usually has a sulphur content of 0.3-0.4pc, the supplier says.

Indian buyers are not ready to pay more for good-quality coal with a high calorific value (CV) and prefer to buy low-quality material that has a low sulphur content, at the lowest prices.

Many Russian suppliers have been reluctant to sell coal at such low prices, preferring to sell to China, which mainly buys mid-CV or low-CV coal from Russia. But recent limitations on Chinese coal imports have prompted some exporters to seek alternatives.

Russia’s major coal producers and exporters, Suek and Kuzbassrazrezugol (Kru), have remained the key Russian coal suppliers to India this year.


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