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India November Gasoline Sales Fall 7% as Price Outweighs Diesel

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Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- India’s gasoline sales dropped in November as consumers purchased less of the motor fuel, opting for cheaper diesel.

Gasoline sales dropped 7 percent from October to 1.2 million metric tons, or about 330,000 barrels a day, last month and diesel rose 6.8 percent to 5.7 million over the same period, according to data on oil ministry data and those compiled by Bloomberg. Gasoline is 60 percent more expensive than diesel sold in New Delhi compared with 48 percent on Jan. 1.

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers may cut its annual domestic passenger-car sales target as higher borrowing costs and fuel prices sap demand, the group said Dec. 8. Sales fell for four straight months till October before rising 7 percent in November. The federal government allows state-run refiners to sell gasoline at market linked prices while it control diesel rates to help curb inflation that has stayed above 9 percent every month this year.

The nation’s refineries imported 14.8 million tons of crude, or about 3.6 million barrels a day, in November, according to the oil ministry data. That’s 17 percent higher than the previous month, the ministry figures showed. Liquefied petroleum gas purchases from overseas were 369,000 tons and 9,000 tons of diesel last month, according to the data.

Fuel exports including gasoline, diesel and naphtha were 4.9 million tons. Motor fuel shipments increased 6.4 percent to 1.1 million with diesel cargoes falling for a second month to 1.7 million tons.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rakteem Katakey in New Delhi at rkatakey@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at aprakash1@bloomberg.net.

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