India’s oil demand rises for eighth consecutive month in April 2018

India’s oil consumption surged 4.5 per cent in April as industrial activity gathered pace in Asia’s third-largest economy and sales of trucks and buses soared. The nation’s total oil demand expanded to 17.7 million tonnes in the month from 16.9 million tonnes during the same month, a year ago, rising for eight straight months, according to the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell.

Demand for diesel, which accounts for about 40 per cent of India’s oil consumption, increased 2.7 per cent to 7.2 million tonnes. Demand for diesel is typically muted in April as farming consumption shrinks following the harvest season in March.

Gasoline consumption was about 9.3 per cent higher at 2.3 million tonnes, while liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) usage gained 13 per cent to 1.9 million tonnes. Demand for petroleum coke shrunk 0.7 per cent to 2.2 million tonnes.

India’s industrial and economic growth has picked up in the recent months. Core sector industrial production rose 4.1 per cent in March. Sales of passenger and commercial transport vehicles also surged in April. Passenger vehicle sales, including sport-utility vehicles, rose 7.5 per cent during the month, while those of trucks and buses climbed 76 per cent.

India sold almost 25 million vehicles between April last year and March, including 3.3 million cars and 856,453 trucks and buses, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

Meanwhile, Indian state-run refiners resumed raising retail gasoline and diesel prices after a three-week hiatus that coincided with the run-up to elections in Karnataka.

Indian Oil Corp, the nation’s biggest fuel-maker and de facto price-setter for other state-run refiners, increased prices on Monday. That’s the first change since April 24, data on the company’s website showed, and the longest stretch of unchanged prices since the government-owned refiners moved to daily revisions last year to reflect international oil prices.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose more than 4 per cent in the same period.

Prices of diesel, the most-used fuel in India, are hovering around record levels in India, which imports more than 80 per cent of its annual crude oil requirement. Gasoline prices are at the highest in more than four years.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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