India’s thermal coal imports may touch a record this year as a faltering monsoon hampers hydro-power generation and pushes steam-driven power plants to replenish stockpiles.
Overseas purchases are estimated to increase to about 145 million metric tons this year from 135 million tons the previous year as prices hover around a five-year low, said Andrew Cosgrove, a Princeton-based analyst at Bloomberg Industries. Mjunction Services Ltd., which auctions the commodity, estimates imports at 152 million tons.
The weakest start to the monsoon in five years is threatening output from hydro-generation plants, adding pressure on coal-fired power to run factories and propel economic growth. After becoming prime minister in May, Narendra Modi told lawmakers his government will work toward providing power, water and sanitation for every household by 2022.
“We’ll see a sharp jump in thermal coal imports from India in the coming months,” Jeffrey Landsberg, managing director at New York-based Commodore Research & Consultancy, said by phone. “The new Indian government is very, very determined to stop large blackouts and that’s the reason we will see electricity demand continuing to rise.”