MUMBAI: India’s purchases of Russian coal have spiked in recent weeks despite global sanctions on Moscow, as traders offer discounts of up to 30 percent, according to two trade sources and data reviewed by Reuters.
India bought an average of $16.55 million of Russian coal a day in the three weeks through Wednesday, more than double the $7.71 million it bought in the three months after Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, according to Reuters calculations.
Indian refiners similarly have snapped up cheap Russian oil shunned by Western countries. The value of India’s oil trade with Russia in the 20 days through Wednesday jumped more than 31-fold to $2.22 billion, the data showed.
Oil purchases averaged $110.86 million a day in the 20-day period, more than triple the $31.16 million it spent in the three months ended May 26.
India’s trade ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.
“The Russian traders have been liberal with payment routes and are accepting payments in Indian rupee and the UAE dirham,” one source said. “The discounts are attractive, and this trend of higher Russian coal purchases will continue.”
EU, India relaunch talks for free trade agreement
The EU and India on Friday relaunched negotiations to forge a free trade agreement, with the aim of completing talks by the end of 2023.
“This partnership will become a defining moment for world trade in the 21st century,” Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal told a news conference.
The two sides previously launched talks in 2007, but they were frozen in 2013 due to a lack of progress. EU and Indian leaders agreed in May 2021 to resume negotiations.
EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said the free trade agreement would cover “essentially all trade,” in line with World Trade Organization standards, including sectors such as automotive and spirits.
“For the European Union, the partnership with India is one of the most important relationships for the upcoming decade,” Dombrovskis said.
The next round of negotiations is scheduled to take place in New Delhi from June 27 to July 1.
(With input from Reuters)