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India's fuel sales moderate in April, falling 4 percent

India's fuel consumption moderated and slipped 4 percent in April from the previous month, data showed on Tuesday, as elevated domestic prices slowed activity in the world's third-biggest oil consumer.


Consumption of fuel, a proxy for oil demand, totalled 18.64 million tonnes, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the oil ministry showed.


This was a slight retreat from the 19.41 million tonnes in March, a three-year high, when petrol sales hit an all-time peak, as the market accumulated supplies foreseeing price spikes while easing COVID-related curbs boosted demand.


But likely weighing on consumption since then, domestic prices for petrol and diesel, linked to international prices of the two fuels that directionally follow increases in crude oil prices, has remained elevated.


Global benchmark oil prices posted a monthly rise in April, buoyed by concerns over lesser Russian supply following its invasion of Ukraine.


India's retail inflation likely rose to an 18-month high in April, largely driven by rising fuel and food prices as per a Reuters poll.


Demand in April did show a rise of about 12 percent from the same period in 2021 when economic activity in the country was still in the grips of the second wave of the COVID pandemic.


Sales of gasoline, or petrol, were 3.8 percent lower from a month ago at 2.80 million tonnes.


Cooking gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sales decreased 12.9 percent to 2.16 million tonnes from March, while naphtha sales fell 4.5 percent to 1.06 million tonnes from a month ago.


Sales of bitumen, used for making roads, were 15.5 percent lower, while fuel oil use advanced 8.6 percent in April.