Jump in COVID cases hits India’s April fuel demand

Analysts see a sharper slump in May

Indian state refiners’ local fuel sales in April declined due to state-level restrictions aimed at stemming a rampant second wave of coronavirus infections, preliminary data shows.

The deadly second wave topped 4,00,000 new daily cases for the first time on Saturday. Authorities reported 4,01,993 new cases in the previous 24 hours, the highest daily count globally, after 10 consecutive days over 3,00,000. Deaths from COVID-19 jumped by 3,523, taking the total toll to 2,11,853.

“Overall fuel demand is down by about 7% from pre-COVID level of April 2019,” said A.K. Singh, head of marketing at Bharat Petroleum Corp. “We were near pre-COIVD level in March but new restrictions and COVID wave-2 has temporarily reduced demand equivalent to about 10% of March demand for both personal mobility and industrial goods movement,” Mr. Singh said. He said the local fuel consumption would ‘start to look up’ in June, by when the second wave was expected to weaken.

Analysts expect a sharper slump in May due to more impending restrictions.

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