New Delhi, Sep 15 (PTI) Coal import in August declined 24 per cent on a yearly basis as Indian buyers preferred not to buy any fresh fossil fuel and instead wait and watch ahead of an upcoming auction for the power sector.

The drop in coal import comes as the stocks at power plants have thinned due to short supply and higher power generation.

“Coal import (all types of coals) in August 2017 stood at 14.97 million tonnes (mt) (provisional), against 19.75 mt in August 2016,” said Mjunction Services, an e-auction joint venture between Tata Steel and SAIL.

Mjunction CEO Vinaya Varma told PTI that the Indian buyers took a wait-and-watch approach as spot prices held firm following supply disruptions in Australia and other markets.

“Also, the linkage bidding for cement and upcoming Shakti auction for the power sector had possibly restrained the buyers from taking fresh positions,” Varma added.

Of the 14.9 mt of the coal imported, the share of non- coking coal was highest at 10.2 mt, followed by coking coal at 3.2 mt, among others.

“The lower volume of coal and coke imports in August (down 24.2 per cent year-on-year) is mainly due to a 2.4 mt of decline in non-coking coal imports during the month under review,” Mjunction Services said.

Import of coal fell 6.37 per cent to 191.95 mt in 2016- 17 after higher production by Coal India, which saw the country move to a position of surplus coal.

In 2015-16, coal imports stood at 203.95 mt, showed official data.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.