New Delhi: India’s diesel sales rose back above pre-Covid levels for only the second time since the pandemic as refiners boost run rates to meet rising demand at home and abroad.
Sales in October by India’s three biggest fuel retailers were 1.3% higher than the same month in 2019, underpinned by rising economic activity and seasonal festival demand, according to officials with direct knowledge of the data. The last time diesel sales were at pre-pandemic levels was October 2020.
Asia’s diesel market has tightened recently as economies rebounded from the pandemic and China curbed exports to shore up domestic supplies. Indian refiners such as Bharat Petroleum Corp. are taking advantage of the surge in overseas demand and shipping more of the fuel abroad, with Finance Director V.R.K. Gupta telling analysts Saturday that run rates at its plants should reach 100% soon. Diesel accounts for 40% of the nation’s total oil product use.
Sales of most other key fuels including gasoline were also above pre-pandemic levels, although jet fuel continued to lag as aviation rebounded at a slower pace. Spokespeople at the three retailers — Indian Oil Corp., Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. — couldn’t immediately comment on the data.
Here’s a table of the preliminary data:
|Oct. (‘000 Tons)||M/m %||change from Oct. 2019|