Indian imports of Russian coal fall, U.S. shipments rise

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SINGAPORE/Reuters/ – Indian imports of Russian coal have declined while U.S. shipments have risen in the three months ending in May, data from coal consultancy Bigmint showed, which traders attributed to Russian supplies becoming less competitive.
Russia’s exports of all types of coal to India over the period fell 22.4% from a year earlier to 6.76 million metric tons, Bigmint’s data showed. U.S. exports rose 14.4% to 6.68 million tons in the same period.
The decline in Indian imports of Russian coal was driven by a 67% plunge year-on-year in shipments of thermal coal, used mainly for power generation. Purchases of steelmaking grades such as coking coal, anthracite and pulverized coal injection (PCI) coal rose during the period, the Bigmint data showed.
India is Russia’s second-largest coal market after China and the decrease follows fresh western sanctions on Russia because of the war in Ukraine. However, buyers downplayed their impact and said Russia thermal coal was less attractive without lower discounts amid a drop in global prices.

“Main issue is thermal coal prices and not the sanctions. Logistics cost has gone up in Russia, that is why they are not able to compete,” said K.C. Gandhi, Joint President of Materials Management at India’s Shree Cement (SHCM.NS).

Russia has been boosting supplies to China amid the lower Indian exports, pushing coal shipments to China to the highest in eight months in May.
U.S. exports of thermal coal to India in the three months ended May 31 rose 21.6% from a year earlier to 4.57 million tons, with its share in Indian imports increasing to 9.2% from 6.7%. However, its share in India’s coking coal imports fell from 16% to 13.5%.
A 44% year-on-year increase in Russia’s coking coal imports to India pushed its share in India’s seaborne market for the steelmaking feed to 13.9% from 10.9%, while its share in India’s thermal coal imports fell to 3.2% from 8.8%, the Bigmint data showed.
Russia continued to dominate Indian imports of other steelmaking grades such as anthracite and PCI, continuing to account for nearly all its imports.
“Other thermal coal exporting countries may benefit in the short term from Russia’s pricing constraints,” said Riya Vyas, senior analyst at iEnergy Natural Resources Limited, a Indian coal trading firm.

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