India April Oil Product Demand Grows at Slowest Pace in 4 Months

  • Diesel consumption eases ahead of financial year closing
  • Fuel demand to pick up gradually this year: HPCL director

India’s oil product sales grew 10 percent in April, the slowest since December as growth in diesel demand decelerated.

Total fuel consumption increased to 16.2 million metric tons in the first month of the fiscal year from 14.7 million tons in the same month a year before, according to preliminary data on the website of the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell. Diesel sales rose 4.4 percent to 6.8 million tons in April, compared with 15 percent in March. Gasoline consumption grew 12 percent to 1.99 million tons.

“I wouldn’t read much into this one-month dip,” said Amit Agarwal, an analyst at SBI Capital Markets Ltd. “Diesel demand should improve in future with commercial vehicle sales rising.”

The slower pickup could be cyclical in nature as retailers push sales ahead of the financial year closing. On an annual basis, India’s demand for fuel grew 11 percent in the year to March 31, the fastest pace since 2001. The International Energy Agency today boosted its forecast for world oil demand this calendar year by 100,000 barrels a day to 95.9 million a day driven by robust consumption in China, Russia and India, which is “taking over from China as the main growth market for oil.”

India’s consumption of gasoline is expected to grow more than 10 percent and diesel as much as 6 percent this year, said Y.K. Gawali, director-marketing at Hindustan Petroleum Corp.

“I don’t think this is a trend,” he said. “It will pick up gradually.”