Fuel consumption fell 4.5 percent to 15.5 million tons in January from 16.2 million tons a year ago, the Oil Ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell said Friday. Diesel use, which accounts for about 40 percent of total fuel demand in India, dropped 7.8 percent to 5.8 million tons, the biggest decline since September. Gasoline consumption fell the most since June.
Expansion in the world’s fastest-growing major economy is under pressure after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November withdrew high-value currency notes in a country where almost all consumer payments are in cash. Growth in gross domestic product may slow to 6.5 percent in the year through March from 7.9 percent the previous year, according to an Economic Survey presented by the finance minister’s advisers.
“This decline in demand is due to demonetization,” according to Tushar Tarun Bansal, director at Ivy Global Energy. “I would expect this decline to be a one off and dissipate from February. This should result in a slower demand growth for diesel in the first quarter in 2017.”
Petcoke consumption fell for the first time in more than a year, declining about 9.9 percent to 1.95 million tons. Gasoline consumption fell 0.6 percent to 1.8 million tons. Liquefied petroleum gas use expanded 16.4 percent to 2 million tons, while jet fuel demand increased 17.8 percent to 627,000 tons.