Russia’s coal industry fares better in 2020 than gloomy forecasts
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Russia’s coal industry turned out to be more robust in the face of the world economic crisis than analysts and officials had predicted.

    Russian coal exports in 202 will dip by only 4 % — though as recently as September, experts were forecasting a fall of 13 %. Coal production for the year will decline by only 9 % – to 401 million tonnes.

    Forecasts for a decline in production had been more pessimistic in September at 10.5 %.

    According to Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky, the fall in deliveries will mainly hit the internal market – about 10 %. 

    The dip in exports will be considerably less.

    Support for the sector came from the Chinese market as it revived in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic – energy consumption is already exceeding pre-pandemic levels.  China and India this year remained the biggest consumers of Russian coal – mainly coking coal.

    As regards investment in coal production, falling commodity prices led to a decline of nearly a quarter.

    In 2019, Russia produced 439 million tonnes of coal. The industry’s development strategy calls for an increase in production to 485-685 million tonnes in 2035 and a rise in exports to 292 million tonnes from 220 million in 2019.

    According to data from Russia’s Statistics agency Rosstat, Russian collieries lost 38 billion roubles in the first nine months of the year. The sector sank into the red in the first quarter of the year against a background of unfavourable international factors and falling prices for coal.

    Russia’s Energy Ministry is forecasting coal production to rise after 2021, with the figure exceeding pre-pandemic levels by 2024. But the Economy Ministry forecasts a decline in production  to 387 million tonnes within three years.

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