November 9, 2015 / 10:27 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-India coal imports falling in boost to self-sufficiency goal

* October coal imports fall 5 pct to 14.52 mln tonnes
    * April-Oct purchases down 4.6 pct at 108.4 mln tonnes
    * Coal secretary says falling trend to continue

 (Adds details, quotes from coal secretary)
    By Krishna N. Das
    NEW DELHI, Nov 9 (Reuters) - India's coal imports fell 5
percent in October in their fourth straight monthly slide as
local output rose fast under the government's push to open a
mine every month, keeping the country on course to become
self-sufficient in thermal coal in three years.
    Asia's third largest economy is targeting to more than
double coal output to 1.5 billion tonnes this decade, and
state-run Coal India has already turned around its
poor performance with record growth from old and new pits.
 
    Coal imports into India, the world's third-largest buyer,
fell to 14.52 million tonnes last month from a year earlier,
according to trade ministry data provided by Coal Secretary Anil
Swarup. April-October purchases fell 4.6 percent to 108.4
million.
    "The trend (of falling imports) will continue because of
sustained increase in coal production by Coal India," Swarup
told Reuters on Monday.
    Apart from Coal India, Swarup expects about 500 million
tonnes of coal coming from the private sector by the end of this
decade. The government is working out details to open up the
nationalized sector and allow private companies to mine and sell
coal.
    India has enough reserves of thermal, or power-generating,
coal but will have to continue buying foreign coking coal used
by the steel industry. 
    
    India's coal imports in million tonnes:   
 MONTH       2015/16     2014/15     PERCENTAGE
                                     CHANGE
 April       15.84       16.14       -1.88
 May         21.35       15.86       34.62
 June        17.26       16.89        2.20
 July        12.82       17.88       -28.30
 August      13.93       14.17       -1.69
 September   12.64       17.30       -26.94
 October     14.52       15.30       -5.10
 April-Oct   108.36      114         -4.56
                                     
 Source: trade ministry

 (Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
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