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Diesel sales out of quarantine, shoots past pre-Covid level in October

NEW DELHI: India consumed nearly 9 per cent more diesel in the first fortnight of October than it did in the same period a year ago and petrol sales remained 1.5 per cent higher than the previous corresponding period, indicating a strong economic rebound on the back of festive demand.
This is the first time after the countrywide lockdown that diesel consumption, an indicator of economic activities, has exceeded last year’s level. Petrol sales had shot past pre-pandemic levels in September as people slowly began overcoming Coronavirus fears and preferred to use personal vehicles to get around.
According to latest data, diesel sales in the first fortnight of October jumped more than 24% from the same period of September as monsoon receded and festive demand kicked in. Petrol rose 1.5% month-on-month as the festive mood set in and people began venturing out.
Jet fuel sales too rose more than 2% from September as the number of flights increased, but it is still more than 57 per cent short of October 2019 level.
Predictably, consumption of LPG, or common household cooking gas, continued to rise in the first half of October and was 7% higher than the year-ago period, indicating a lot more cooking as families get into the festive groove.
Rising fuel sales will help refiners to ramp up operations of their units. Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, chairman of India’s largest oil refiner and fuel retailer IndianOil, recently told TOI he expected to run his company’s refineries at full steam soon.
Fuel sales have also been boosted by rising car and two-wheeler sales and exports of iron ore, garments and drugs, which increased movement of goods. Car sales rose 26% and two-wheelers 12% in September from a year ago. India’s exports too rose 6%, contributing to the uptick in economic activity.

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