In 2021, India was the second largest importer of coal in the world, just after Mainland China, and ahead of Japan and South Korea. India accounted for 15.3% of global coal shipments in 2021. India’s seaborne coal imports in 2021 declined by -10.3% y-o-y to 164.8 MMT, from 183.8 MMT in 2020. In recent years, India has tried to boost domestic coal production as well as shift to greener sources of energy such as natural gas, reducing demand for coal imports. Overall energy demand has also grown more slowly in the past two years due to lockdowns and other Covid-related measures.
In 1Q 2022, India’s coal imports continued in the same negative trend, with volumes down by -13.5% y-o-y to 41.5 MMT, from 47.9 MMT in 1Q 2021. But India’s share of global coal trade increased in 1Q 2022 to 16.3%, given the even larger drop in China’s coal imports this year. In 1Q 2022, China imported just 38.1 MMT of coal, down -36.2% y-o-y from 59.7 MMT in 1Q 2021. China’s share of global coal trade is now down to just 14.9% in 1Q 2022.
Australia has emerged as the top coal exporter to India, as they diverted cargoes that would have been sold to China. Imports to India from Australia increased by +44.9% y-o-y to 64.9 MMT in 2021, from 44.8 MMT in 2020. In 1Q 2022, India imported 14.2 MMT of coal from Australia, down -26.5% y-o-y from a record 19.3 MMT in 1Q 2021. Australia now accounts for 34.2% of India’s coal imports.
The second largest source for Indian coal imports is Indonesia, accounting for a 30.3% share in 1Q 2022. Shipments from Indonesia to India declined by -33.5% y-o-y to 47.4 MMT in 2021, from 71.3 MMT in 2020. In 1Q 2022, India imported 12.6 MMT of coal from Indonesia, -15.5% y-oy from 14.9 MMT in 1Q 2021.
Third placed supplier South Africa’s exports to India declined by -35.2% y-o-y to 23.0 MMT in 2021, from 35.5 MMT in 2020. In 1Q 2022, India imported 6.6 MMT of coal from South Africa, up marginally by +1.7% y-o-y from 6.5 MMT in 1Q 2021. South Africa now accounts for 15.9% of India’s coal imports.
In fourth place is USA. Shipments to India increased by +22.0% y-o-y to 13.7 MMT in 2021, from 11.2 MMT in 2020. In 1Q 2022, India imported 3.6 MMT of coal from the USA, down -2.1% y-o-y from 3.7 MMT in 1Q 2021.
Russia is in fifth place and exported 6.2 MMT of coal, down -1.4% y-o-y in 2021. In 1Q 2022, India received 2.2 MMT of coal from Russia, up by +99.0% y-o-y from 1.1 MMT in 1Q 2021.