India’s Russian coal buying hikes as traders offer huge discounts

India’s purchases of Russian coal have rose in recent weeks despite global sanctions on Moscow, as traders provide discounts of up to 30%, as per two trade sources and data reviewed by Reuters.

Russia, facing severe Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, has warned the European Union in April against sweeping sanctions on coal, saying that they would backfire as the fuel would be redirected to other markets.

India did not condemn Russia, with which it has longstanding political and security ties, while calling for an end to violence in Ukraine. India defends its purchases of Russian goods as a part of an effort to diversify supplies and argues a sudden stop would hike up world prices and hurt its consumers.

U.S. officials have told India there is no ban on energy imports from Russia but they do not want to witness a “rapid acceleration”.

Yet as European importers shun trade with Moscow, Indian buyers are buying huge quantities of Russian coal despite high freight costs.