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Coal India reports 25.5% fall in April shipments as demand weakens during lockdown

Coal India reports 25.5% fall in April shipments as demand weakens during lockdown

Shipments declined to 39.1 million tonne in April, said the Kolkata-based firm on Friday. In April last year, shipments stood at 52.41 million tonne

In India, nationwide lockdown has led to closing of factories and offices leading to a fall in electricity demand by 25% In India, nationwide lockdown has led to closing of factories and offices leading to a fall in electricity demand by 25%

State-run PSU Coal India logged a 25.5% fall in shipments for April as a month-long nationwide lockdown hit economic activity, reducing demand for the country's most dominant energy source. Shipments declined to 39.1 million tonne in April, said the Kolkata-based firm on Friday. In April last year, shipments stood at 52.41 million tonne. 

Output fell 10.9% to 40.38 million tonne last month compared to 45.30 million tonne in April 2019.

Annual demand for coal is seen falling the most since World War II with burning the fuel to make electricity becoming unprofitable and socially untenable in several countries.

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In India, nationwide lockdown has led to closing of factories and offices leading to a fall in electricity demand by 25%.

Modi government, on May 1, extended the lockdown by another two weeks in the wake of rising cases of novel coronavirus in the country. The third stage of lockdown will start on May 4 and end on May 17.

In January this year, Coal India reported the first decline in annual shipments in at least six years on falling demand from power producers. Shipments declined 3.8 per cent in 2019 from a year ago to 580.8 million tonnes, according to Bloomberg data. Production fell 2.2 per cent to 582.8 million tonne, the data showed.

Coal India produced 602.14 million tonnes (MT) of coal in FY 2019-20, missing the target of 660 MT for the year.

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"The company closed the fiscal 2019-20 with an annual coal production of 602.14 MT," the PSU said. Coal India recorded an all-time high production of 84.36 MT in March 2020, posting 6.5 per cent growth as compared to same month a year ago.

By producing 3.85 MT of coal on March 30, CIL set up a new record for the highest ever production in a day since its inception.

By Aseem Thapliyal