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India's Fuel Demand Grows 4.5 Percent in Feb, First Increase After Two Months of Decline

Image for Representation. (Reuters)

Image for Representation. (Reuters)

The demand for gasoline used in passenger vehicles rose in February at its fastest since May last year, while Diesel grew at its fastest in three months.

India's fuel demand grew 4.5 per cent in February from a year earlier, the first increase in two months, government data showed, indicating some recovery in the country's industrial activity over the last month. Consumption of refined fuels, a proxy for oil demand, totalled 18.22 million tonnes in February (approximately 5 million barrels a day), data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the oil ministry showed on Thursday.

That would be in keeping with the latest report from the International Energy Agency that said India's oil demand would rise by 2.6 per cent this year to 5.13 million barrels per day. Indian demand for gasoline used in passenger vehicles rose in February at its fastest since May last year, growing about 11.2 per cent from a year earlier to 2.51 million tonnes. Diesel grew at its fastest in three months, rising 6.3 per cent from a year earlier to 7.16 million tonnes, the data showed.

Diesel is used by trucks and heavy vehicles for transporting goods, and for powering generators and other equipment in industrial activities like mining and manufacturing. India's fuel demand could ease in March as the number of people in the country testing positive for the coronavirus is rising and the government has issued travel advisories, leading to the cancellation of air tickets and hotels.

India has said it expects its refined products demand to rebound by 3.8 per cent in the financial year beginning April 1, tracking improved economic growth, although the government estimates were made in January and do not take into account any impact from the spread of the coronavirus. Cooking gas, or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), sales fell 4.3 per cent from a year earlier to 2.12 million tonnes, and naphtha sales rose 6.7 per cent to 1.28 million tonnes. Sales of bitumen, used for making roads, were up about 1.4 per cent from the same month last year, and fuel oil use slipped 5.1 per cent.


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