Petroleum demand plunges

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KARACHI: The country’s overall oil sales plunged by 25 per cent to 16.972 million tonnes during the first 11 months of this fiscal year owing mainly to 57.7pc drop in furnace oil (FO) sales to 2.743m tonnes. “Petroleum ”

A drop of 19pc was witnessed in the high-speed diesel (HSD) sales to 6.764m tonnes. However, petrol sales inched up by 1.2pc to 6.808m tonnes.

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Total offtake of petrol, oil and lubricants (POL) dipped 32pc year-on-year to 1.68m tonnes in May chiefly on the back of dreary FO sales. Similarly, motor spirit (MS) and HSD volumes tumbled by 5.2pc and 20.6pc year-on-year to 604,000 tonnes and 706,000 tonnes, respectively.

According to Shajar Capital report, petrol sales in May dropped by 10.7pc on month-over-month and 5.2pc in year-on-year due to rising petrol prices. It linked fall in sales of FO and HSD to economic cyclicality and shift in government’s policy on energy mix.

Another reason of slowdown in diesel sales was persistent downward trend in sales of locally assembled trucks which fell to 5,120 units in July-April 2018-2019 from 7,703 units in same period last fiscal.

Petrol sales had also been going flat amid falling sales of locally assembled cars to 177,435 units in July-April 2018-2019 from 182,911 units in same period last fiscal. Two- and three-wheeler sales had been showing mixed trend.

According to Economic Survey 2018-19, domestic production of crude oil remained 24.6m barrels during July-March of 2018-19 compared to 21.8m barrels during the corresponding period last year.

Inflation to remain considerably higher’

During July-March period, the quantity of crude oil imported remained 6.6m tonnes valuing $3.4bn compared to the quantity 7.8m tonnes valuing $2.9bn during the same period last year. The decline was mainly due to increase in international prices.

The deferred payment on imported oil from Saudi Arabia will give an ease to the government on balance of payments, the survey said.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2019

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