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India’s Diesel Demand Yet To Reach Pre-Covid Levels

India’s demand for diesel, the most used fuel in the world’s third-largest crude oil importer, rose in December 2021 from a month earlier but was still 2 percent lower than the pre-pandemic demand in December 2019, data from state refiners cited by Argus showed on Monday.

Demand for jet fuel also rose in December from November and from the low levels of December 2020, but was still lagging the consumption trend from December 2019, just before COVID-19. Jet fuel demand was down by 27 percent compared to December 2019.  

Meanwhile, India’s gasoline demand stood at 692,000 barrels per day (bpd) in December 2021, up by 13 percent from December 2019, as consumption of gasoline continued to exceed pre-pandemic levels.

After lockdowns in India started to ease last year, demand for gasoline rose and has been exceeding pre-COVID levels as more people prefer driving in their own vehicles to commuting in public transportation, participants in the fuel market told Argus.

Overall fuel demand in India had eased in November 2021 after the festive season, following a seven-month peak reached in October, data showed in early December. India’s fuel consumption dropped in November by 4 percent from October and by 11.4 percent compared to November 2020, according to official petroleum ministry data.

In December 2021, the rise in diesel demand in India was good news for the fuel sales and oil consumption in the world’s third-biggest oil importer. However, a surge in COVID cases with the Omicron variant could hurt Indian fuel demand and sales in the coming weeks, industry associations say.

COVID cases have surged in India in recent days, and some states have already announced retractions on gatherings, imposed curfews, or closed schools.

The Omicron spread “initiated (a) sense of nervousness” in trade and commerce, starting to affect road transport business, truckers’ association Indian Foundation of Transport Research & Training said, as carried by Reuters.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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