According to preliminary data from online trader mjunction, coal imports into India jumped 33.5% in the last fiscal year to 242.4 million t. This was due to reduced purchases by China that lowered prices and assisted consumers elsewhere.
Typically, Indian power companies depend on imports for about 15% of their annual needs but that figure looks set to climb thanks to a continuous fall in prices, which has lifted the enthusiasm for foreign coal.
Imports in March were estimated to have risen 80% to 24.73 million t, according to mjunction data based on information from shipping companies, ports and other sources.
Government data on imports generally comes with a lag and varies with those from private firms like mjunction, which collects data from a greater number of ports and includes additional coal grades.
"Going by existing trends and a soft trend in international markets, India's coal import of all types in 2015-16 would be more than 260 million t," mjunction Chief Executive and Managing Director Viresh Oberoi said.
Coal Secretary Anil Swarup estimated imports of 200 million t for 2014/15 and 160 million t for the 2015/16 fiscal year.
According to official data, India imported 168.4 million t in 2013/14, while mjunction put the figure at 181.58 million.
Edited from source by Joseph Green
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