India's fuel sales moderate in April, fall 4% m/m

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People get their two-wheelers filled with petrol at a fuel station in Ahmedabad

(Reuters) - India's fuel consumption moderated and slipped 4% in April from the previous month, data showed on Tuesday, as elevated domestic prices slowed activity in the world's third biggest oil consumer.

Consumption of fuel, a proxy for oil demand, totaled 18.64 million tonnes, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the oil ministry showed

This was a slight retreat from the 19.41 million tonnes in March, a three-year high, when petrol sales hit an all-time peak, as the market accumulated supplies foreseeing price spikes while easing COVID-related curbs boosted demand.

But likely weighing on consumption since then, domestic prices for petrol and diesel, linked to international prices of the two fuels that directionally follow increases in crude oil prices, have remained elevated.

Global benchmark oil prices posted a monthly rise in April, buoyed by concerns over lesser Russian supply following its invasion of Ukraine. [O/R]

India's retail inflation likely rose to an 18-month high in April, largely driven by rising fuel and food prices as per a Reuters poll.

Demand in April did show a rise of about 12% from the same period in 2021, when economic activity in the country was still in the grips of the second wave of the COVID pandemic.

Sales of gasoline, or petrol, were 3.8% lower from a month ago at 2.80 million tonnes.

Cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sales decreased 12.9% to 2.16 million tonnes from March, while naphtha sales fell 4.5% to 1.06 million tonnes from a month ago.

Sales of bitumen, used for making roads, were 15.5% lower, while fuel oil use advanced 8.6% in April.

(Reporting by Roshan Abraham in Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio)

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