Coal-fired power stations had an average of four days’ worth of stock of the fuel at the end of last month, the lowest level in years, and down from 13 days at the start of August. More than half the plants are on alert for outages. With coal used to produce almost 70% of electricity, spot power rates have surged, while supplies of the fuel are being diverted away from key customers including aluminum smelters and steel mills.

Like China, India is contending with two key challenges: soaring electricity demand as industrial activity rebounds after pandemic curbs were lifted and a slump in local coal output. The impact on consumer prices would show up a few months later, when distribution utilities get regulatory approvals to pass on the cost, he said.The economy is forecast to expand 9.4% in the year through March 2022, which would be the fastest pace among major global economies, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

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