Dip in fuel consumption shows economy slowing too

Updated: Dec 30 2008, 05:42am hrs
In a clear sign of slowing economic activity in the country, Indias fuel consumption grew by just 2% in November and the most used diesel sales showing moderation for the second month in a row. Oil product consumption in November was 10.99 million tonne, a tad higher than 10.77 million tonne in the same month last year, according to latest data available from the petroleum ministry. Diesel sales, which had during the first part of current fiscal seen a growth rate of 15-16%, rose by 8.6% to 4.46 million tons in November while demand for petrol was up 5.9% to 914,900 tonne.

Increased vehicle movements for electioneering in five states and power outages that forced use of gensets were responsible for the over 8% growth in diesel demand, a ministry official said.

Reflecting slowdown in aviation sector, jet fuel consumption was down 6.5% at 371,400 tonne. Industrial fuels naphtha and light diesel oil also recorded negative growth rates.

Oil product demand in April-November rose 4% to 86.6 million tonne with diesel consumption rising by 10.7 % to 33.73 million tonne.

Crude oil imports in November rose 7.8% to 9.87 million tonne, with private refiners accounting for almost one-third of the inward shipments. Product imports, however, declined 17.3% to 1.35 million tonne on lower LPG and diesel imports. Fuel exports were also down 9.6% to 2.66 million tonne, with diesel being the most shipped product at 1.21 million tonne.