Wednesday, May 12, 2021

India's fuel sales drop 9.4% in April on Covid wave

New Delhi: India's fuel demand slumped 9.4 per cent in April when compared to the preceding month as lockdowns clamped in several states to curb the second wave of coronavirus sweeping the nation pummelled demand, official data showed on Wednesday.

Fuel consumption fell 9.38 per cent to 17.01 million tonnes in April from 18.77 million tonnes in March, data from Oil Ministry's Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) showed.

India was under one of the world's severest lockdowns in April 2020, bringing to a halt almost all economic activity. Fuel sales had halved that month, plunging to the lowest since 2006. Comparing on a yearly basis, fuel demand surged 81.5 per cent from April 2020 lows.

With airlines continuing to operate at less than capacity, jet fuel (ATF) sales in April were 4,09,000 tonnes, down 14 per cent over March 2021 and 36.7 per cent over April 2019. Jet fuel sales in April 2020 were 5,500 tonnes.

Sales volume of cooking gas LPG fell 6.4 per cent to 2.1 million tonnes in April 2021 when compared to the previous month. The sales were 11.6 per cent higher than 1.9 million tonnes in April 2019.

Fuels sales could have been worse in April, but the elections in some states saw increased use of vehicles for campaigning. Demand is likely to witness a sharper slump in May due to more impending restrictions.

Declining fuel sales will reduce crude intake by refiners, reducing operating run rate.

"India's 2Q21 (April-June) oil demand is projected to be impacted by the recent surge in Covid-19 infection cases," OPEC said in its monthly oil report.

"Recent mobility data show weakness in performance towards the end of April and this is anticipated to last well into the month of May and possibly June putting the whole 2Q21 oil demand performance in check."

12/05/21 PTI/Times of India

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