Covid effect: India’s fuel demand dips most since April

By: |
September 10, 2020 9:41 PM

Fuel demand had slumped by a record 48.6 per cent in April to 9.4 million tonnes as the government imposed a nationwide lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The decline in August was the sixth consecutive year-on-year slide.

India’s fuel demand in August posted its biggest decline since April as local lockdowns put brakes on economic activity and transportation, official data showed on Thursday. Petroleum product sales fell to 14.39 million tonnes in August, down 7.5 per cent over the previous month and about 16 per cent from a year earlier, data from the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) showed.

The decline in August was the sixth consecutive year-on-year slide. Fuel demand had slumped by a record 48.6 per cent in April to 9.4 million tonnes as the government imposed a nationwide lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus. It recovered in the subsequent two months but has been falling again since July, on a monthly basis.

Sale of diesel, the most consumed fuel in the country, fell 12 per cent to 4.84 million tonnes in August from 5.51 million tonnes in the previous month. On an annual basis, the demand for diesel declined by 20.7 per cent.

Petrol sales fell 7.4 per cent year-on-year to 2.38 million tonnes although it rose 5.3 per cent from 2.26 million tonnes in July as commuters preferred driving to using public transportation. LPG sales were down five per cent year-on-year to 2.2 million tonnes, while kerosene demand fell 43 per cent to 1,32,000 tonnes. Month-on-month, the sale was almost flat.

Industry sources said reaching pre-COVID-19 sales may take at least 3-4 months. There is likely to be a pick-up in demand with the onset of the festive season in October-November but reaching pre-COVID-19 levels would not be before new year, they said.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had previously stated that sales would return to normal by festival season but the local lockdowns being imposed in several states has prolonged the return to normalcy. Naphtha sales at 1.07 million tonnes was down 16 per cent over July demand. It was over 24 per cent lower than the consumption of 1.4 million tonnes in August 2019. Sale of bitumen, used for making roads, rose 39.1 per cent to 3,16,000 tonnes on an annual basis but was down about 18 per cent month-on-month.

Do you know What is Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), Finance Bill, Fiscal Policy in India, Expenditure Budget, Customs Duty? FE Knowledge Desk explains each of these and more in detail at Financial Express Explained. Also get Live BSE/NSE Stock Prices, latest NAV of Mutual Funds, Best equity funds, Top Gainers, Top Losers on Financial Express. Don’t forget to try our free Income Tax Calculator tool.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1RBI must work hard to check appreciating rupee, worry less about rising inflation, says Arvind Panagariya
2Farmers’ body hails new farm bills amid widespread protest; says new regime will give freedom, power
3Businesses may heal only by end of this fiscal; migrant workers haven’t yet returned in these firms