India’s fuel demand in September rose for the first time since June as easing coronavirus restrictions supported economic activity and travel, but consumption remained weaker than a year earlier, government data showed on Friday. Consumption of refined fuels, a proxy for oil demand, rose 7.2 per cent in September from the prior month to 15.47 million tonnes, the first monthly increase since June when demand rose to 16.09 million tonnes.
However, demand fell 4.4 per cent from the same period a year earlier, posting its seventh consecutive year-on-year slide, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas showed.
The country’s daily number of coronavirus infections has slowed since hitting a single-day high of 97,894 new cases on September 17, a sign that infections were peaking for now.
The country’s factory activity also expanded at its fastest pace in more than eight years in September, even as layoffs continued.
Demand in August was the weakest since April, hurt by a throttling of economic activity and transport due to restrictions.
Diesel consumption, a key parameter linked to economic growth and which accounts for about 40 per cent of overall refined fuel sales in India, rose 13.2 per cent to 5.49 million tonnes last month from 4.85 million tonnes in August.
However, on an annual basis, demand for diesel declined about 6 per cent.
Sales of gasoline, or petrol, rose by 3.3 per cent from a year earlier to 2.45 million tonnes, and by 2.9 per cent from 2.38 million tonnes in August.
Cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sales increased by 4.8 per cent to 2.27 million tonnes from a year earlier, while naphtha sales rose 2.9 per cent to 1.14 million tonnes and by 5.7 per cent from August.
Sales of bitumen, used for making roads, rose 38.3 per cent from last year, and fuel oil decreased by 7.4 per cent and by about 4.1 per cent month-on-month.