By Parvin Chong
February 17, 2021 - India's coking coal imports rose to a record high in December as buyers restocked aggressively amid competitive offers from Australia in the absence of Chinese demand.
India imported 5.36mn t of coking coal in December, surpassing the previous high of 4.92mn t in October. December's imports increased by 34pc from the previous month and by 20pc from a year earlier, according to data from e-commerce firm Mjunction. Australia accounted for the bulk of the increase.
Imports in 2020 as a whole declined by 7pc from a year earlier to 45.2mn t .
Arrivals from Australia surged in December as fob prices fluctuated around $100/t fob Australia, a relatively attractive level for Indian buyers. Strong steel consumption, driven by robust demand from infrastructure and automobile production, continued to support domestic steel prices in December.
Seaborne coking coal prices continued to decline in December amid sustained uncertainty over Chinese import curbs on Australian coals. The Argus premium low-volatile hard coking coal index averaged $102.17/t cfr India in December, down by 1.1pc from $103.29/t in November.
India's met coke imports fell by 15pc from November's record high of 348,826t to 295,196t in December. India's top met coke suppliers in December were Poland with 126,789t and Colombia with 75,864t. Other suppliers included Russia with 57,409t, China with 5,789t, Japan with 5,211t, and Australia with 3,702t.
January-December met coke imports fell by 13pc to 2.61mn t.
India's pulverised coal injection (PCI) imports rose to a record high of 1.61mn t in December, surpassing the previous monthly high of 1.38mn t in May 2019. The December imports were an increase of 77pc from a year earlier and up by 74pc from the previous month. January-December PCI imports fell by 1pc from a year earlier to 12.55mn t.
PCI arrivals from main supplier Australia rose sharply to 1.13mn t in December, an increase of 78pc from the previous month and 38pc against a year earlier. Russian PCI imports rose by 385pc from a year earlier to 436,173t.