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India’s crude imports stall in April as virus stifles demand

India’s-crude-imports-stall-in-April-as-virus-stifles-demand-6429.jpg      India’s crude oil imports in April were little changed from the previous month as a second COVID-19 wave forced several states to impose mobility restrictions, stemming fuel demand and leading to larger stockpiles.


India’s crude oil imports in April were little changed from the previous month as a second COVID-19 wave forced several states to impose mobility restrictions, stemming fuel demand and leading to larger stockpiles.

Crude oil imports in April were at 18.26 million tonnes, although on a yearly basis they rose about 10.3%, data on the website of the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) showed on Thursday.

“Refiners were already processing crude at exceptionally high utilisation rates, which might have resulted in high stocks… Some refiners might have decided to wait before buying at high prices,” said Refinitiv analyst Ehsan Ul Haq.

The year-on-year rise in imports could be attributed to the lower figures last year, when the country first went into a national lockdown, Haq said.

India’s top state oil refiners reduced processing runs and crude imports in April as the pandemic took a toll on fuel consumption, leading to higher product stockpiles at the plants.

Coronavirus cases in the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer have been surging to record highs amid hitches in its vaccine campaign.

The country is also trying to cut its dependence on the Middle East for oil, as continued production cuts by the Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries and Major Producers (OPEC+) led to higher crude prices.

Oil products’ imports rose about 24.1% to 3.50 million tonnes on an annual basis, but it was down 14.6% from March, while exports slumped 35.8%.

Diesel accounted for a major share of the 3.88 million tonnes of exports in April, at 1.86 million tonnes. However, they fell 39.4% from the preceding month and were down 45.3% year-on-year.

Asia’s third-biggest economy imports and exports refined fuels as it holds surplus refining capacity.

Source: Reuters (Reporting by Eileen Soreng and Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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