Diesel sales in India fell 3% in September as a receding monsoon continued to dampen demand and slowed industrial activity in some parts of the country, preliminary data of state-owned firms showed.
While diesel sales by three state-owned fuel retailers fell year-on-year, petrol sales rose in September.
Consumption of diesel, the most consumed fuel in the country — accounting for about two-fifths of the demand, fell to 5.81 million tonnes in September from 5.99 million tonnes demand in the same period a year ago.
Demand dipped by over 5% in the first half of September, and consumption picked up in the second half as rains receded.
Month-on-month sales were up 2.5% when compared to 5.67 million tonnes of diesel consumed in August.
Diesel sales typically fall in monsoon months as rains lower demand in the agriculture sector, which uses the fuel for irrigation, harvesting and transportation. Also, rains slow vehicular movements.
Consumption of diesel had soared 6.7% and 9.3% in April and May, respectively, as agriculture demand picked up and cars yanked up air-conditioning to beat the summer heat. It started to taper in the second half of June after the monsoon set in.
Petrol sales were up 5.4% to 2.8 million tonnes in September when compared to the same period last year.
Consumption growth was almost flat in August.
Sales in September were up 5.6% month-on-month, the data showed.
Macroeconomic data suggests a broad-based expansion across all sub-sectors of the economy, with the services sector continuing to post robust growth across financial, real estate and government services. India's economy has demonstrated robust resilience and is likely to have surpassed the performance of most major economies during the first half of 2023.
Industry sources said with steady and healthy economic activity and the ongoing air travel recovery, India's oil demand is projected to rise in the remainder of the year.
Suppliers group OPEC sees India's oil demand expanding on average by 2,20,000 barrels per day on the back of vigorous economic growth.
Consumption of petrol during September was 19.3% more than in the COVID-marred September 2021 and 30%more than in pre-pandemic September 2019.
Diesel consumption was up 19% over September 2021 and 11.5% compared to September 2019.
With the continuing rise in passenger traffic at airports, jet fuel (ATF) demand rose 7.5% to 5,96,500 tonnes during September against the same period last year.
It was 55.2% more than in September 2021, but 3.55% lower than pre-COVID September 2019.
Month-on-month jet fuel sales were almost flat compared to 5,99,100 tonnes in August 2023.
Cooking gas LPG sales were up 6% year-on-year at 2.67 million tonnes in September. LPG consumption was 11.4% higher than in September 2021 and 23.3% more than in pre-COVID September 2019.
Month-on-month, LPG demand soared 7.3% against 2.49 million tonnes of LPG consumption during August, the data showed.