NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Coal India Ltd (COAL.NS), the world's biggest coal miner, plans to cut its stocks by around a quarter this fiscal year, its chairman said, a move that may help increase supply to power producers in the energy-hungry nation.
The miner, which produces about 80 percent of India's coal, ran down its stocks by 18 percent from a year ago to about 58 million tonnes in the year to March, its lowest in four years.
"This year, we plan to reduce it by 15 million tonnes," S. Narsing Rao told Reuters by phone, referring to the current fiscal year that began in April.
Shifting more stocks to its mainly power producing customers, who do not get enough of the fuel to run their plants in full capacity, could help trim the supply gap in the country where capacity additions in the power sector have outpaced growth in domestic coal output.
Coal fuels more than half of India's power generation and Coal India is chasing a production target of 482 million tonnes and a supply target of 492 million tonnes this fiscal year.
The targets, set by the federal coal ministry, represent increases of 3.9 percent and 4.7 percent respectively over Coal India's production and supply goals last fiscal year.
Reporting by Malini Menon; Editing by Devidutta Tripathy