India’s March fuel demand hits 3-year high, gasoline sales hit highest

A worker holds a nozzle to pump gasoline into a vehicle at a gas station in Mumbai, India, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

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  • Gasoline sales jump 6.2% over the previous year
  • Russian oil keeps India’s economic recovery on track – analyst

April 11 (Reuters) – India’s fuel demand hit a three-year high in March, with gasoline sales hitting an all-time high as the market piled up supplies expecting price spikes, despite the outlook The country’s post-pandemic economic recovery remains promising.

Fuel consumption, a proxy indicator of oil demand, rose 4.2% from the same month last year to 19.41 million tonnes, its highest level since March 2019, according to the figures. data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell of the country’s Petroleum Ministry as of April 9.

“Oil demand in March was strongly supported by storage/hoarding activity in anticipation of higher gasoline and diesel prices in the later part of the month,” said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo. .

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Preliminary data this month showed Indian state refiners’ diesel and gasoline sales in March rose on higher demand from dealers and consumers ahead of an expected sharp rise in retail prices after the elections in key states. Read more

“So that (higher prices) will likely weigh on the near-term demand outlook, but with the economy still expanding, oil demand should continue to recover over the next few months,” Staunovo said. .

Gasoline, or gasoline, sales rose 6.2% from a year earlier to 2.91 million tonnes, their highest level on record according to data dating back to 1998.

To mitigate the rising cost of oil imports, India has turned to Russian barrels which are available at a very favorable price citing “national interests”.

Indian refiners bought at least 16 million barrels of cheaper Russian oil for May loading on a delivered basis, similar to purchases for the whole of 2021, according to Reuters calculations last week. Read more

While Russian oil imports have kept India’s economy emerging from its pandemic downturn on track, “India also needs to exercise caution politically,” said Jeffrey Halley, chief analyst of the market at OANDA. Read more

DOMESTIC SALES (in millions of tonnes):

NOTE: Total figures may not add up as not all items are included in the table and figures are rounded. Figures for previous months may have been revised.

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Reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Uttaresh.

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