London — Combined stocks of thermal coal at 100 Indian power plants climbed 16% on the month to a new record high of 29.8 million mt Tuesday, enough supply for 20 days of coal burn, according to data released by India's Central Electricity Authority Friday.
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Power plant inventories have been climbing to new record levels since mid-March when stocks surpassed the previous 10-year record high of 23.33 million mt reached on August 22, 2013.
No year-on-year comparative data was available.
CEA's data showed that the number of Indian power plants with less than a week's supply of coal was six, halving from 12 a month earlier.
Of these, only three had inventories lasting less than four days of consumption, unchanged from March 29, the CEA data showed.
The data also showed that, of the current coal stocks, 3.6 million mt was imported coal, a 35.4% month on month increase.
Imported coal stocks have remained consistently above 3 million mt since April 8, according to Platts data.
Indian buyers usually stock up on imported coal at the beginning of the year ahead of the monsoon season that runs from May to September.
For most of April, market sources said it was a buyers' market, with lower freight rates widening the range of options available to Indian buyers, although a credit crunch capped buying interest.