By Nidhi Verma
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian state-refiners’ gasoline and gasoil sales rose in June compared with May, continuing with a gradual recovery as the nation relaxed lockdown aimed at stemming spread of COVID-19, provisional sales data showed on Wednesday.
State-retailers’ gasoline sales in June rose by about 36% from May to about 2.04 million tonnes.
Sales of gasoil, which accounts for about two-fifths of the country’s overall fuel sales, rose by about 20% in June compared with May to 5.54 million tonnes, provisional sales data showed.
However, gasoline and gasoil sales in June are still down by about 15% and 17.1% respectively from a year earlier.
Fuel consumption- a proxy for oil demand in Asia’s third largest economy- plunged to the lowest since 2007 in April as the country came to a standstill due to the lockdown that was put in place on March 24.
Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan last week said fuel demand could normalise by end-September.
State companies Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum own about 90% of the retail fuel outlets in India.
The sources who provided the provisional industry data asked not to be identified citing confidentiality.
Sales of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) rose nearly 17% in June from a year ago while jet fuel declined by 67.3% during the same period.
(Reporting by Nidhi Verma, editing by Louise Heavens)