India's coal import registered a decline of 2.7 per cent to 15.22 million tonnes (MT) in August this year amid the country's power plants grappling with fuel shortages.

The country imported 15.64 MT of coal in the corresponding month last year.

According to data compiled by mjunction services, "Imports in August 2021 stood at around 15.22 million tonnes...imports in August 2021 were also down by 2.7 percent over August 2020." mjunction CEO and MD Vinaya Varma attributed the decline in volumes to the steady increase in seaborne coal prices coupled with the initiatives taken by the domestic miners for import substitution.

However, he said, there is a spurt in demand from the power sector.

"What impact it will have on imports, given the volatility in international prices, is to be seen," he added.

Of the total import during August 2021, non-coking coal was at 9.08 MT, against 10.33 MT imported during August last year. Coking coal imports were at 4.37 MT, up against 3.17 MT imported during August 2020.

India's coal imports during August 2021 through the major and non-major ports are estimated to have decreased by 6.71 per cent over July 2021.

Imports in July stood at 16.31 MT.

During April-August 2021, coal import stood at 92.49 MT, about 21.27 per cent higher than 76.27 MT imported during April-August 2020.

During April-August 2021, non-coking coal import was at 60.85 MT as compared to 51.23 MT imported during April-August 2020.

Coking coal imports were recorded at 22.19 MT, against 14.38 MT imported during the same period last year.

Coal India which accounts for over 80 per cent of domestic coal output had earlier said that due to skyrocketing coal prices in international markets, all the consumers have been vying for domestic coal, hiking up the demand.

Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi on Thursday said closure of some mines, and inundation of a few others due to monsoon led to the crisis but there is no need to panic as the situation is improving.

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