Petrol and diesel sales in India jumped to a four-month high in October, as the festive season brought back demand that had been quelled by extended monsoon rains, preliminary industry data showed on Tuesday. Petrol sales soared 12.1 per cent to 2.78 million tonnes in October, as compared to 2.48 million tonnes of consumption in the same month last year. Sales were 16.6 per cent higher than in COVID-marred October 2020 and 21.4 per cent more than in pre-pandemic October 2019. Demand, which had dipped 1.9 per cent month-on-month in September, was up 4.8 per cent higher. Diesel, the most used fuel in the country, posted a 12 per cent rise in sales in October to 6.57 million tonnes, when compared to the same month last year. Consumption was up 6.5 per cent over October 2020 and 13.6 per cent higher than pre-COVID 2019.
The fuel, which had seen a near 5 per cent drop in sales in August, when compared to the previous month of July, saw demand rise 9.7 per cent month-on-month. Petrol and diesel sales were highest since June. Industry sources said the ending of extended monsoon rains in most parts of the country and a pick up in agriculture season led to a rise in diesel demand. Rains usually restrict mobility and demand from the farm sector, which uses diesel in irrigation pumps and trucking. Rabi crop sowing as also the festival season led to a pick-up in economic activity and a rise in demand.
Auto fuel sales had dipped in July and August owing to the monsoon and reduced demand. As the aviation sector opened up, India’s overall passenger traffic at airports inched closer to pre-COVID-19 levels. Reflecting the trend, jet fuel (ATF) demand jumped 26.4 per cent to 568,000 tonnes during October, when compared to the same month last year. It was 65.8 per cent higher than October 2020 but 14 per cent lower than pre-COVID October 2019. Sources said, while domestic air travel is back to pre-COVID levels, international traffic is lagging because of continued restrictions in some countries.
India’s recovery has continued to gain momentum in recent months but has been accompanied by elevated inflation. The economy grew by 13.5 per cent y-o-y in April-June, reflecting an upturn in recovery momentum. Healthy economic growth has supported oil demand. India’s oil demand has been rising steadily since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. Cooking gas LPG sales were however down 1.27 per cent year-on-year at 2.44 million tonnes in October. LPG consumption was 1.3 per cent higher than in October 2020 and 5.2 per cent more than in October 2019. Month-on-month, the demand was down marginally when compared to 2.48 million tonnes of LPG consumption during September, the data showed.