Economic slowdown: Major dip in fuel demand shows contraction

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NEW DELHI: More evidence of India’s slowdown has emerged with new data showing the country’s fuel demand fell to its lowest level in two years in September, while another report revealed commercial credit demand fell 2.6 percentage points to Rs 63.80 lakh crore in the June quarter. 

According to the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell, consumption of petroleum products dropped to 16.01 million tonnes in September — the lowest level since July 2017 — from 16.06 million tonnes in Sept 2018. 

Another report by state-run SIDBI showed that commercial credit demand slipped to Rs 63.80 lakh crore as of June, against Rs 65.52 lakh crore in March. The demand for diesel, chiefly used by trucks, slipped 3.2% to 5.8 million tonnes, while naphtha sales shrank by a quarter to 8.44 lakh tonnes. 

Consumption of bitumen, used in road construction, too came down by 7.3% to 3.43 lakh tonnes. Industrial fuel oil sales edged 3.8% lower to 5.25 lakh tonnes.

“These goods go into production or distribution. A fall in their consumption is a tell-tale sign of a deepening slowdown,” said Arun Kumar, Malcolm S Adiseshiah Chair Professor at the Institute of Social Sciences. The fall in demand for these fuels negated a higher demand for LPG and petrol. 

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)