Coal India Reports First Rise in Monthly Shipments Since Feb.
A freight train laden with coal stands on the tracks in Paradeep, Odisha, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Coal India Reports First Rise in Monthly Shipments Since Feb.

Coal India reported the first increase in monthly shipments since February, after demand for the fuel picked up with easing of restrictions aimed at controlling the coronavirus pandemic.

The company shipped 44.34 million tons of coal in August, 9.3% more than a year earlier. Output rose 7% to 37.2 millions tons, the first increase in five months, company filing shows.

The demand for electricity has been rising since offices, factories and other commercial establishments resumed work after weeks of strict lockdown, which led to a record slump in the country’s quarterly gross domestic product. While an increase in energy consumption offers early signs of recovery, rapidly rising infection cases pose a threat.

Power plants, which consume nearly 80% of Coal India’s sales, have seen their inventories slide from record levels earlier this year. That may prompt buyers to replenish their stockpiles, according to Rupesh Sankhe, vice president at Elara Capital India Pvt. in Mumbai.

“Coal India is aggressively pushing its sales to make the best of the demand revival, “ Sankhe said. “Its own stockpiles have swollen substantially and it is under pressure to bring that down.”

The company is also bracing for the future and plans to spend 1.22 trillion rupees ($16.7 billion) in about 500 projects related to coal evacuation infrastructure, exploration and clean coal technologies, coal minister Pralhad Joshi said in a separate statement.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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