An attendant holds a fuel pump at a small roadside petrol station in the Huruma suburb of Nairobi, Kenya. (Photographer: Luis Tato/Bloomberg)

India's Oil Consumption Rises in March as Economy Recovers

(Bloomberg) -- India’s oil demand grew 7.2 percent in March from a year ago as the country emerged from the effects of a cash ban and the roll out of a new national sales tax.

The nation’s total oil consumption expanded to 18.6 million tons in the month from 17.4 million a year ago, according to the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell. India’s oil demand rose for the seventh straight month in March.

Demand for diesel, which accounts for about 40 percent of India’s oil consumption, increased 8 percent to 7.35 million tons. India’s oil demand had shrunk for the third consecutive month in March last year following the government’s crackdown on high-value currency notes in November 2016.

  • Gasoline consumption was about 14 percent higher at 2.4 million tons
  • Liquefied petroleum gas usage gained 9 percent to 2.1 million tons
  • Demand for petroleum coke expanded 6.5 percent to 2.3 million tons
  • Oil demand in the financial year to March increased 5 percent; diesel grew 6.6 percent and gasoline expanded 10 percent

India’s economic growth has picked up in recent months with the country’s central bank last week raising its outlook for gross domestic product growth to 7.4 percent in the year that started April 1 from 6.6 percent in the previous year.

Rising income levels have boosted oil demand in the country as the sales of scooters and trucks grew. India’s car sales increased 8 percent in the year ended March, while that of trucks and buses rose about 25 percent from a year ago, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.