Coal India’s 2019 shipments drop for first time in six years; key reasons

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Published: January 2, 2020 10:46 AM

Coal India posted the first decline in annual shipments in at least six years as demand from power producers weakened and its production was hit by heavy rains earlier in 2019.

Coal India is the biggest coal-producing company in the world. (Reuters)

Coal India posted the first decline in annual shipments in at least six years as demand from power producers weakened and its production was hit by heavy rains earlier in 2019. Shipments fell 3.8% in 2019 from a year ago to 580.8 million tons, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data from the state-run company dating back to 2013. Production slipped 2.2% to 582.8 million tons, the data showed.

On a monthly basis, shipments rose 1.9% in December from last year to 53.63 million tons, the Kolkata-based miner said late Wednesday. Output climbed 7.2% to 58.02 million tons. Coal India is the biggest coal-producing company in the world. India’s power generation from coal is poised to shrink in 2019 for the first time in at least 14 years. The decline mirrors a global trend as nations embrace cleaner forms of energy in a bid to cut emissions and reduce air pollution.

Further sapping India’s coal consumption is an industrial slowdown, which caused electricity use to slump for four consecutive months. Prolonged rains have also pushed up output from hydroelectric dams while curbing demand for air conditioning and irrigation. Coal helps generate nearly 70% of the country’s power. Coal India’s production sank to a record low in September after some of its largest miners were flooded due to heavy rainfall in the monsoon season.

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