COLUMN-India’s economic woes hit coal imports, but crude oil soldiers on for now – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – November 12, 2019)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Nov 12 (Reuters) – A sharp plunge in India’s electricity demand in October has been matched by falling coal imports, but weakness in vehicle sales and fuel demand hasn’t yet showed up in crude oil imports.

Power demand in Asia’s third-largest economy slumped 13.2% in October from a year earlier, the steepest monthly decline in more than 12 years, according to government data.

Coal imports fell to 14.7 million tonnes in October, the lowest since January and the third straight month of declines, according to vessel-tracking and port data compiled by Refinitiv.

Imports were also down 16.9% from the 17.7 million tonnes recorded in October last year, a further sign that India’s coal demand is softening in the face of slower economic growth.

It’s also not the case that imports are being replaced by higher domestic output. In fact the opposite is happening, with state-owned Coal India well behind its production target so far this fiscal year.

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