India's August fuel demand steady m-o-m, diesel consumption drops

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FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Oil tankers are seen parked at a yard outside a fuel depot on the outskirts of Kolkata

(Reuters) -India's August fuel consumption was little changed from the previous month, government data released on Wednesday showed, even as diesel demand dropped to the lowest this year during monsoon season in the world's No. 3 oil consumer.

Fuel consumption, a proxy for oil demand, rose 16.3% to 17.81 million tonnes from August 2021, but was up only marginally from 17.61 million tonnes in July, data from the oil ministry's Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) showed.

"Indian products demand has effectively stagnated in August, remaining well above last year readings but showing no substantial m/m change," said Viktor Katona, lead crude analyst at Kpler, noting that demand is typically the lowest in August.

"With heavy rains restricting demand from the farm sector and curbing mobility, the fact that diesel demand dropped to slightly above 1.5 million b/d is a direct consequence of that, dropping to the lowest reading this year, a 5% decrease from July," Katona added.

Sales of gasoline, or petrol, rose 11.6% from a year ago to 3 million tonnes.

Sales of diesel, or gasoil, rose about 13% year-on-year to 6.34 million tones, but fell about 5% from July.

Preliminary sales data earlier this month showed gasoil sales by Indian state retailers in August fell from a month earlier as monsoon rains restricted mobility while high inflation curtailed overall demand.

But with the Indian economy still expanding, fuel demand should steadily improve, said Edward Moya, senior analyst with OANDA.

Cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), sales grew 3% to 2.39 million tonnes year-on-year, while naphtha sales jumped 23.5% to 1.16 million tonnes.

Sales of bitumen, used for making roads, rose about 51%, while fuel oil use advanced 16.5% in August.

DOMESTIC SALES (in million tonnes):

2022 2022 2022 2021 2021 2021

August July June August July June

Diesel 6.34 6.64 7.68 5.61 6.14 6.20

Petrol 3.00 2.81 2.97 2.69 2.63 2.41

LPG 2.39 2.41 2.23 2.32 2.37 2.25

Naphtha 1.16 1.14 1.05 0.94 1.22 1.19

Jet fuel 0.60 0.58 0.59 0.38 0.32 0.26

Kerosene 0.03 0.02 0.05 0.13 0.13 0.14

Fuel Oil 0.60 0.56 0.54 0.52 0.47 0.50

Bitumen 0.47 0.44 0.70 0.31 0.44 0.58

TOTAL 17.81 17.61 18.68 15.31 16.00 15.84

(Reporting by Brijesh Patel and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Alex Richardson and Richard Chang)