Indian Coal Production, Dispatch, Stocks & Consumption – October 2019 Update

As mentioned in the accompanying Generation update, this month’s report skips one month because of slippage in publication of data and the transfer of some new data to the National Power Portal from the main CEA site. It also makes more sense to label the update for the month of posting, as the various lags in the data make it uncertain which will make it into each update. The latest available data is used for each, however.

Production problems related to late September’s strike over the Government’s privatisation plans, and disruption by heavy late monsoon rains, (including the flooding of the Dipka mine by the Lilanagar river), have caused a substantial production drop for August and September. Dispatch has also taken a hit, and the moving average data shows a clear downturn for the last two months.

Coal stockpiles at the nation’s power plants fell in a pattern more like 2017 and closer to the September/October levels of that year at some 17 million tons. Disrupted supply appears to have been offset by reduced consumption, so that peak de-stocking rates have remained below those of 2016 and 2017.

The buffer provided by higher power plant stocks than last year have also forestalled any large rise in the number of plants with critically low stocks.

Even though more of the country’s coal is stockpiled at power plants, the overall stocks are approaching a low comparable to last year’s and 2014’s.

Subdued demand has seen a lull in the rise of coal consumption. This is most clearly seen in the 12 month moving average data, which is shown along with the best linear fit of the data from August 2014 to December 2018, extended to the present. The last eight months of moving average data is well below trend.

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