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India’s fuel demand nearly halves in April amid lockdown

India’s fuel demand was down 45.8% from April a year earlier, eradicating economic activity to combat the spread of novel coronaviruses in the form of a nationwide lockdown and travel.

Fuel consumption, a proxy for oil demand, totaled 9.93 million tonnes – its lowest since 2007, government data showed on Saturday.

State fuel retailers in India sold 50% less refined fuel in the first two weeks of April compared to a year earlier as the country faced a deadlock due to the March 24 lockdown.

The government extended the lockdown until May 17 last week, offering some rest in low-risk areas, although travel by air, rail and metro, and inter-state movement of people by road were still banned.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its latest report that India’s annual fuel consumption will come down to 5.6%, with an increase of 2.4% forecast in the March 2020 report.

Diesel consumption, which is widely used for transportation as well as irrigation needs in India, was down nearly 55.6% year-on-year at 3.25 million tonnes.
Sales of petrol, or petrol, fell 60.6% to 0.97 million tonnes a year earlier.

Sales of LPG or Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) grew by nearly 12.1% to 2.13 million tonnes, while naphtha sales fell 9.5% to 0.86 million tonnes.

State-retailers sold 21% more LPG in the first fortnight of April than a year earlier. India is providing free LPG cylinders to the poor from three months to June to help in the season of bandh effect.

Sales of bitumen, making roadways, slipped 71%, while fuel oil usage fell by 40% in April.

However, the country’s fuel demand is set to recover with easing of restrictions on industrial activities and transportation in regions, including the proliferation of coronovirus, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said earlier this week.

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