REFILE-COLUMN-India coal imports aren't a big enough boost: Russell

martes 7 de octubre de 2014 20:30 GYT

(Refiles to fix graphic link) --Clyde Russell is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own.--

By Clyde Russell

LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Australian coal miners desperate for good news got a double boost recently, but India's cancelling of private mining blocks and Indonesia's new export rules are a salve rather than a cure for the industry's woes.

An Indian court ruling scrapping the allocations of coal blocks to private operators will undoubtedly cut production and boost demand for imported fuel.

And it's also likely that new export permit rules being introduced by Indonesia will at least temporarily lower shipments from the world's largest exporter of thermal coal for use in power plants.

Also, it remains the case that many Indian power stations are critically short of coal, given the long-standing inability of state producer Coal India and the railways to mine and transport adequate supplies.

All of this seems like manna from heaven for Australian coal miners, the majority of whom are unprofitable given the 25 percent decline this year in the benchmark Newcastle Port thermal coal price to $64.91 a tonne last week, a fresh five-year low.

But there are a few reasons to be sceptical as to whether this will be a significant boost for coal miners, or just a serendipitous lolly in a bowl of bile.   Continuación...