Indias fuel demand rose in March as a pick-up in agriculture activity helped reverse a slowdown that was witnessed in the first half of the month, preliminary industry data showed on Sunday.
Fuel sales soared to the highest levels in February on the back of robust demand from the agriculture sector as well as transport picking up after the winter lull. But a seasonal slowdown kicked in during the first half of March.
However, there was a pick-up in the second half, which helped sales rise even month-on-month despite the high base of February. Petrol sales rose 5.1 per cent to 2.65 million tonne in March when compared with the same period of last year. Sales were up 3.4 per cent month-on-month, the data showed.
Diesel, the most consumed fuel in the country, saw demand rise by 2.1 per cent to 6.81 million tonne during March when compared with 6.67 million tonne sales in the same period a year back.
Month-on-month the demand was up 4.5 per cent. In the first half, petrol sales had fallen 1.4 per cent and diesel 10.2 per cent year-on-year. Consumption of petrol in March was 16.2 per cent more than COVID-marred March 2021 and almost 43 per cent more than in the same period of 2020.
Diesel consumption was up 13.5 per cent over March 2021 and 41.8 per cent higher than in the same month of 2020. With the continued opening of the aviation sector, Indias overall passenger traffic at airports inched closer to pre-COVID levels.
Reflecting the trend, jet fuel (ATF) demand jumped 25.7 per cent to 614,000 tonne during March when compared to the same period last year. It was 41.9 per cent higher than March 2021 and 34.8 per cent more than March 2020. Month-on-month sales were 4.54 per cent higher.
Indias recovery has continued to gain momentum in recent months but has been accompanied by elevated inflation. The countrys oil demand had been rising steadily since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
Cooking gas LPG sales fell 3 per cent year-on-year to 2.37 million tonne in March. LPG consumption was 9 per cent higher than in March 2021 and 5.8 per cent more than in March 2020. Month-on-month, the demand dropped 6.54 when compared to 2.54 million tonne of LPG consumption during February, the data showed.
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