India’s fuel demand witnessed the sharpest rebound in February as petrol and diesel consumption rose by double digits after a winter lull in the previous month, preliminary industry data showed on Wednesday. Petrol sales of state-owned fuel retailers jumped 12 percent to 2.57 million tonnes in February, as compared to 2.29 million tonnes of consumption in the same period of last year.
Sales were 1.57 percent higher than in COVID-marred February 2021 and 20 percent more than in the same period of 2020. Month-on-month, the demand was up 13.5 percent, reversing the dip in the previous month. Sales had fallen 5.1 percent month-on-month in January as cold conditions cut vehicular movement.
Diesel, the most used fuel in the country, posted a 13 percent rise in sales during February to 6.52 million tonnes, as compared to the same period last year. Consumption was 12.1 percent higher than in February 2021 and 7.7 percent more than in the same month of 2020. Month-on-month sales surged 9.2 percent from 5.97 million tonnes in January.
In January, diesel consumption fell 8.6 percent month-on-month as snowfall in higher reaches halted truck movement. Industry sources said diesel demand surged as trucks returned to roads and rabi sowing season peaked. The use of the fuel in irrigation pumps and trucking helped build momentum. January sales were lower month-on-month also because the previous month had seen a surge in consumption due to vacation travel. With the continued opening of the aviation sector, India’s overall passenger traffic at airports inched closer to pre-COVID levels.
Reflecting the trend, jet fuel (ATF) demand jumped 41 percent to 574,200 tonnes in February when compared to the same period last year. It was 41.3 percent higher than in February 2021 but 9.7 percent lower than in February 2020. Month-on-month sales were up 3.3 percent.
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. This slowed the momentum a bit. The country’s oil demand had been rising steadily since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
Cooking gas LPG sales were up 2.43 percent year-on-year at 2.53 million tonnes in February. LPG consumption was 12 percent higher than in February 2021 and 22.2 percent more than in February 2020. Month-on-month, the demand was up 6.14 percent when compared to 2.38 million tonnes of LPG consumption during January, the data showed.
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