NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Shipments of coking coal from the United States and Canada rose to a sixth of all Indian imports of the fuel during the year ended March 2019, as steelmakers in the coal guzzling country look to cut their dependence on Australia.
Australia’s share in India’s coking coal market fell to 71%, or 36.91 million tons, during the year ended March 2019 from about 88% three years ago, India coal ministry data reviewed by Reuters showed. The United States and Canada had a 5.6% share of the market three years ago.
Regular interruptions in India’s main supplier over the last few years, including a flood in a major coal producing region in February and a cyclone which tore into Queensland in 2017, have caused worries about major supply disruptions in India.
Overall Indian coking coal imports rose 10.3% to 51.84 million tons, while imports of thermal coal – mostly used by utilities – rose 13.72% during 2018-19.
Higher Indian coal imports are a boon for international miners such as Indonesia’s Adaro Energy, Australia’s Whitehaven Coal, U.S. coal miner Peabody Energy Corp and global commodity merchants such as Glencore.