Oils not well with import figures

Written by Saikat Neogi | Updated: Dec 7 2012, 01:21am hrs
At a time when global oil prices are flat, two ministriespetroleum and commercehave different sets of data on Indias total oil imports. While trade data from the commerce ministry show the oil import bill during April-October 2012 at $95.6 billion, the petroleum ministry shows the oil import bill at $86.3 billion during the same period. Unless these two data sets are reconciled, there would be a statistical upside risk to the PMEACs projected current account deficit of 3.6% of GDP for FY13.

While the base effect drove up oil imports in value terms year-on-year in September-October, demand from captive power plants has been growing because of coal shortages in certain states. A research note by Indranil Sen Gupta, Bank of America-Merrill Lynchs India economist, says that the 10% jump in the April-October oil import bill of the commerce ministry is overestimated vis--vis the petroleum ministrys 1.9%. He says the petroleum ministrys data is consistent with the physical oil imports, which rose 3.4% during the period and crude price decreasing 4.7% during the period.

Interestingly, oil exports data from the two ministeries almost match with each other. While the commerce ministry has reported a 15.2% fall in oil exports during April-September, the petroleum ministry has reported a 14.3% decline, which is consistent with the 9.2% drop in physical oil exports reported by the latter.