India's coal import declined by 34.9 per cent to 12.46 million tonnes (MT) in August on account of subdued demand for the dry fuel from consuming sectors like power and cement.
The country imported 19.14 MT of coal in August last year, according to provisional compilation by mjunction, based on monitoring of vessels' positions and data received from shipping companies.
mjunction, a joint venture between Tata Steel and SAIL, is a B2B e-commerce company that also publishes research reports on coal and steel verticals.
Also, the first five months of the current fiscal saw 32.51 per cent decline in coal import at 73.08 MT, over 108.29 MT during the year-ago period, it said.
"Although there has been a modest recovery in coal-consuming sectors such as power and cement, coal stock continues to be ample and hence import demand subdued. If we go by the current trend, coal imports may see a significant decline this year," it said.
Of the total imports in August, non-coking coal's shipment was at 8.87 MT and coking coal at 2.18 MT.
Coal India (CIL), which accounts for over 80 per cent of domestic coal output, has been mandated by the government to replace at least 100 million tonnes of imports with domestically-produced coal in the ongoing fiscal. To boost coal demand, the government has announced a slew of measures like increased supply for linkage consumers.
The Centre had also announced several relief measures for CIL consumers, including the power sector. The country imported 247.1 MT of coal in 2019-20, about five per cent higher than 235.35 MT imported during 2018-19.