India’s fuel demand falters in the first fortnight of January – Times of India

NEW DELHI: India’s fuel sales faltered in the first fortnight of January as festive and holiday season demands evaporated, indicating the economy may be pausing to catch its breath.
Latest market data shows diesel demand falling 3.5% short of the same period of 2020. This shows a slowing demand as compared to December when sales had risen to 97% of the pre-pandemic level.
Growth in petrol sales also appeared to have flattened as car sales dropped to their lowest in a decade. Petrol sales clocked 8.5% growth over January 2020, nearly the same as in December.
The year-on-year numbers may not appear alarming, partly because of the base effect. But the trend of demand slowing becomes all too clear when compared against the first fortnight of December. Data shows diesel demand in the first fortnight of January down 6.6% from the same period of December. Petrol too sold 6% less than the same fortnight a month ago.
Jet fuel sales were 48% down from the same period of 2020 as the number of flights still remained curtailed. Here too signs of faltering demand become evident, considering sales were only 43% short of the pre-pandemic level in December. Compared to the first fortnight of December, sales were down nearly 5% in the period under review.
LPG continued to remain in positive territory with over 5% growth over a year ago but was 0.6% down from the first fortnight of December.
Diesel consumption, one of the key barometers of economic activity, had covered slack to reach 97% of the year-ago period in December. It had dropped 7% from the year-ago period in November after shooting past the pre-pandemic level for the first time in eight months in October by clocking a 6% year-on-year growth.

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