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India’s Russian Coal Imports Set To Stutter

As Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine falters against a counteroffensive, war chest revenues from fossil fuels may take another hit as India’s imports of Russian thermal coal look set to fall for the first time in four months. 

In a note to clients cited by Reuters, Coalmint now says it expects India’s September imports of Russian thermal coal to drop by 30% from the previous month to 1.4 million tonnes. 

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A second consultancy, DBX Commodities, told Reuters that Indian shipments of power generation fuel should drop from 1.9 million tonnes in August to 1.5 million tons in September. 

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In June, India’s imports of thermal coal from Russia hit an all-time high, and in July, Russia earned status as the third-largest supplier of coal to India.

On Wednesday, Reuters cited an unnamed Indian source as saying that India has imported some $2.4 billion worth of Russian coal since the invasion of Ukraine in late February, representing a value four times higher than the same period of 2021.

It is a challenging time for more losses to the war chest, which is heavily funded by fossil fuels and very dependent on sales to India and China.

The new estimations of India’s reduced coal imports from Russia come just over two months away from the implementation of a European Union ban on Russian seaborne crude oil and a planned price cap on Russian oil by the G7.

With the recent defeat in Ukraine’s Kharkiv, where Russian troops were pushed back and lost large swathes of territory, Russian President Vladimir Putin is now under severe pressure to maintain the upper hand. So far, this has resulted in the first call for troop mobilization since World War II, leading to mass protests and arrests in Russia, while conscription-age men attempt to flee the country in droves. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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