Weakening Indian demand poses challenges for South African coal market

Author Alex Thackrah, Deputy Editor, Coal Daily International

The rise in Covid-19 cases in India has thrown a question mark over the nation's short-term coal demand outlook. It remains to be seen the extent to which the spiralling caseload will reduce India’s demand for seaborne coal.

But signs of a slowdown in industrial activity and power consumption have begun to weigh on API 4 prices, given India is South Africa’s most important export market, taking just over half of the country’s 70mn t plus coal exports last year.

Explore some of our recent news coverage for more detail on the impact this is having on the power sector, cement manufacturers, industrial demand and the global coal market.

India slowdown threatens S African coal price outlook
A prolonged slump in Indian coal demand threatens a recent recovery in South African prices. And if suppliers are to diversify exports to non-Indian markets in a similar vein to the second quarter of 2020, they may need to rely more heavily on the Chinese market.

Covid-19 may pressure Coal India's April output 
Indian state-controlled producer Coal India's (CIL) April output is set to nearly halve from the previous month, as a surge in Covid-19 cases in India and curbs to contain the spread of the virus dent coal demand and hamper some operations.

Covid-19 surge to weigh on India’s cement demand 
India's second wave of Covid-19 could combine with a slowing economy and stretched government finances to undermine the cement industry's forecasts of high double-digit sales growth this year, potentially weighing on demand for coal and petroleum coke.

Covid-19 may dent India’s seaborne coal demand 
A surge in Covid-19 cases in India may pressure demand for imported thermal coal, with widening curbs to contain the spread of the virus denting some industrial activity and weighing on the country's power consumption outlook.

India's lockdown to curb demand for Australian coal 
Economic uncertainty over regional lockdowns imposed in parts of India following a fresh Covid-19 outbreak is encouraging Indian consumers to withhold bids for Australian high-ash coal. This is preventing Australian coal prices from rising during a looming Chinese coal shortage that has driven up seaborne prices.

Covid-19 clouds India’s coal block auction plan 
A sharp increase in Covid-19 cases in India may delay an upcoming auction of coal blocks for commercial mining, weighing on India's broader goal to boost domestic output and slash imports in the coming years. 

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