India's June crude imports up on demand recovery, Russian discounts

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FILE PHOTO: A worker holds a nozzle to pump petrol into a vehicle at a fuel station in Mumbai

By Arundhati Sarkar

(Reuters) -India's crude imports in June rose nearly 21% from a year earlier, helped by a steady increase in consumption, while refiners continued to bring in discounted Russian fuel to manage elevated global energy prices, government data showed on Tuesday.

Imports in June rose to 19.21 million tonnes from 15.91 million tonnes in the same month last year.

"It's impossible to ignore the base effects of last year's (coronavirus-related) restrictions and the impact that has on demand," said OANDA analyst Craig Erlam, adding that the world economy had roared back to life since.

But the annual data should be taken with a pinch of salt, given the risks of a global economic slowdown, Erlam added.

Fuel consumption in the world's third-biggest oil consumer also increased in June, and seemed to be heading back towards pre-pandemic levels.

India's crude imports from Russia have historically accounted for less than 3-4% of the total annual imports, said CRISIL Research's director Hetal Gandhi.

Adding to the import volume, refiners in India, which had rarely bought Russian oil because of high freight costs, also got an opportunity to snap up oil at hefty discounts to Brent and Middle East staples amid sanctions on Moscow.

"(And) this may be further exacerbating the jump, but it's not clear how that will develop in the months ahead," Erlam added.

Oil prices have been on the rise due to supply fears, especially since Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions on Moscow. Russia, a key oil and natural gas supplier to Europe, has also cut gas supply through a major pipeline. [O/R]

Oil product imports rose 13.1% to 3.37 million tonnes from a year earlier, while exports edged 0.2% lower to 5.5 million tonnes, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell showed.

India, Asia's third-biggest economy, holds surplus refining capacity and exports refined fuels as well.

NOTE: The data for imports and exports is preliminary because private refiners share numbers at their discretion.

All figures are in millions of tonnes:

2022 2022 2022 2021 2021 2021

CRUDE OIL June May April June May April

IMPORTS 19.21 19.60 21.47 15.91 17.26 18.26

Imports:

2022 2022 2022 2021 2021 2021

PRODUCTS June May April June May April

LPG 1.31 1.38 1.56 1.39 1.05 1.05

Petrol 0.13 0.03 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.07

Naphtha 0.10 0.10 0.14 0.14 0.12 0.12

Kerosene 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

Diesel 0.12 0.01 0.01 0.00 0.01 0.00

Fuel Oil 0.59 0.47 1.00 0.56 0.59 0.78

All 3.37 3.23 3.90 2.98 2.79 3.07

Exports:

2022 2022 2022 2021 2021 2021

PRODUCTS June May April June May April

Petrol 1.16 1.16 1.40 1.15 1.33 0.93

Naphtha 0.82 0.56 0.61 0.61 0.50 0.46

Diesel 2.45 3.06 2.69 2.83 2.95 1.88

Fuel Oil 0.13 0.08 0.04 0.20 0.23 0.08

Jet Fuel 0.59 0.45 0.35 0.49 0.42 0.27

All 5.50 5.68 5.36 5.51 5.74 3.92

NOTES:

Totals may not tally because all items are not included in the table and numbers are rounded up or down. The numbers for previous months have been revised.

(Reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam and Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Maju Samuel)

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