November saw a reasonably strong rebound in both production and dispatch following the prolonged monsoon, but in both cases this was insufficient to reverse the overall slide in the 12-month moving averages. The latest (October) figures for dispatch to the power and non-power sectors showed that the former, though recovering in September, still has a downward trend when seasonal effects are removed (12 month moving averages).
Despite poor weather, the subdued generation from coal has allowed rapid re-stocking of power plants, currently at over 25 million tonnes. The speed with which the early re-stocking rate has climbed from the annual low is the most rapid in the last six years. On the last day of November, the (21 day moving average) rate for the previous five years was in the range from 35,000 to 109,000 tonnes per day. This November 30th, that rate was standing at over 220,000 tonnes per day.
As a result, very few plants are reported as having critically low stocks.
India’s total coal stocks are heading up and are higher than recent years other than 2015 and 2016. The lower level of stocks at the pithead and increased quantity held at power plants is a continuing feature of this year’s profile.
The most striking aspect of India’s current coal situation is the drop in coal burned for power, which has led not only to a low for the month and for the financial year to date, but for the whole 12 month period to the end of October relative to the previous year.
The regression line for the 12-month moving average data to December 2018 is extended below, to highlight the extent of this decline from trend growth.