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Tuesday, 22 December 20
INDIA'S COAL DEMAND IS SET TO EXPAND DESPITE PLUMMETING IN 2020 - IEA
IEACoal consumption in India amounted to 979 Mt in 2019, with the largest share being thermal coal (including lignite) for electricity generation (687 Mt), followed by thermal coal for non-power applications (226 Mt). The remainder was metallurgical coal used mainly for steel production.
 
Compared with 2018, coal consumption fell 1.8%, or 18 Mt in 2019, almost exclusively due to lower thermal coal use for power generation. Declining coal demand reflects India’s slower economic growth and significant hydropower output with heavy monsoon rains in 2019. While India’s economy grew 6.1% in 2018, GDP growth in 2019 was just 4.2%.
 
Coal consumption in India is expected to fall sharply in 2020. This applies to thermal coal (including lignite) for power generation (‑4.5%, ‑31 Mt;), thermal coal for other applications (-10%, -23 Mt) and met coal (-20%,-13 Mt).
 
This drastic drop results mainly from the Covid‑19 pandemic effects. Measures to contain the virus in India were taken at the end of the first-quarter 2020. A complete lockdown that began 25 March had a drastic effect on key coal consumers. In April, crude steel production fell by more than 90% y-o-y after the collapse of steel demand from construction and automobile production.
 
In the second-quarter, y-o-y production drops were 33% for pig iron, 43% for sponge iron and 38% for cement. The effects of the restrictions remained evident in the third-quarter. In addition, coal-fired power generation will decline in 2020 (-4.5%) due to lower demand for electricity and preferential dispatch for nuclear and renewables. Gas-fired generation was boosted by low LNG prices.
 
In April 2020, coal-fired power generation was more than 30% lower than in the previous year. Recovering power demand boosted coal-fired generation in September, accounting for the first y-o-y growth since the start of the pandemic. Assuming that the recovery continues until the end of the year, coal-based power generation will shrink by 4.5%.
 
For 2021 the IMF expects a recovery of India’s economy, with annual GDP growth of 8.8%. With electricity demand as well as industrial production rebounding, coal use is anticipated to increase 3.8%, or by 35 Mt. In the medium term (to 2025), India has one of the highest potentials to increase coal consumption as electricity demand rises and more steel and cement are required for infrastructure projects. Additionally, the government aims to expand coal gasification considerably, targeting 100 Mt of coal gasification by 2030. Methanol production (with four coal-to-methanol projects already lined up) is a major focus of its policy.
Sourcec; COAL 2020, IEA


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