India’s August fuel consumption perks up on strong manufacturing

(Reuters) -India’s fuel consumption in August inched up from a 10-month low, government data showed on Wednesday, as strong factory activity in the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer offset the usual monsoon lull.

Total consumption in August, a proxy for oil demand, totalled 18.57 million metric tonnes, up 2.5% from 18.11 million tonnes in July. It was up 6.5% a year ago.

“The main reason is the strong economy,” LSEG analyst Ehsan Ul-Haq said, adding that if demand is rising during the monsoon season, it could surge even higher in the festive season.

India’s factory growth accelerated at the fastest pace in three months in August, driven by strong growth in new orders and output, according to a private survey.

Sales of gasoline in August were 3.7% higher than the previous month at 3.09 million tonnes.

However, sales of diesel, mainly used by trucks and commercially run passenger vehicles dropped about 3.2% month-on-month to 6.67 million tonnes in August.

“People are gradually shifting towards gasoline-driven cars all over the world. Diesel demand could also be down due to lower agricultural demand amid monsoon rains,” Ul-Haq said.

Fuel demand in India typically falls during the four-month monsoon season that starts in June as parts of the country are affected by heavy floods.

Monsoon rains were 36% below average in August, marking India’s driest August in more than a century, but India could receive an average amount of rainfall in September.

Sales of bitumen, used for making roads, rose 4.3% from July, while fuel oil use dropped 6.4% in August.

Cooking gas, or liquefied petroleum gas, sales increased about 3% to 2.46 million tons and naphtha sales rose 4.7% to 1.1 million tons, the data showed.

2023 2023 2023 2022 2022 2022

Aug. July June Aug. July June

Diesel 6.67 6.89 7.91 6.34 6.63 7.67

Petrol 3.09 2.98 3.15 3.01 2.81 2.97


2.46 2.39 2.23 2.39 2.40 2.23

Naphtha 1.13 1.08 1.06 1.09 1.15 0.95


fuel 0.68 0.66 0.64 0.59 0.58 0.59

Kerosene 0.06 0.05 0.05 0.03 0.02 0.05


Oil 0.53 0.57 0.51 0.62 0.56 0.55

Bitumen 0.55 0.53 0.75 0.32 0.34 0.69


18.57 18.11 19.48 17.44 17.75 18.53

NOTE: Total figures may not tally because not all items are included in the table, and numbers are rounded.

(Reporting by Harshit Verma, Brijesh Patel and Daksh Grover in Bengaluru; editing by Christina Fincher and Arun Koyyur)