New Delhi: Indian state refiners’ daily diesel sales rose in December compared to the previous month, but a rapid rise in infections due to the Omicron coronavirus variant could hit fuel demand in Asia’s third-largest economy.
State retailers sold around 208,150 tonnes of diesel a day in December, up 8.75% from November and 1.48% over the same month last year, according to preliminary sales data compiled by the industry .
However, this represents a decline of 1.60% compared to December 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic spread globally.
Truckers’ association Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training said in a statement that the movement of diesel-consuming trucks in India increased in December as more fruits and vegetables were transported across the country that month, while factory production and exports declined. The growth continued.
But it added that the rapid spread of Omicron in India in late December had triggered a “(a) panic-stricken start” in trade and commerce, which was beginning to affect the road transport business.
Diesel accounts for about two-fifths of refined fuel consumption in India and is directly linked to industrial activity.
Industrial activity slowed in December but remained above the 50 mark, which separates growth from contraction.
India’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, compiled and aggregated by IHS Markit on December 6-17, fell to 55.5 in December from 57.6 in November, although it remained above the 50 mark for the sixth month.
Daily petrol sales in December rose 3.21% month-on-month to 81,950 tonnes as motorists preferred to use private vehicles to protect against Covid.
State retailers – Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp and Hindustan Petroleum Corp – control about 90% of the country’s fuel stations.
India’s jet fuel sales continued to grow in December compared to the previous month, but there are signs that rising travel restrictions to curb the spread of omicrons could affect jet fuel demand.
Asian refining margins for jet fuel fell to a three-week low last week as airlines cut capacity amid a surge in Omicron infections.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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