India's diesel sales fell 7% in November from a year earlier, after rising in the previous month, according to preliminary data on state refiners' fuel sales, signalling industrial activity is still slow to pick up after a national lockdown was eased.
Diesel sales in India, the world's third biggest oil importer and consumer, had risen in October for the first time in eight months due to pent-up demand ahead of the festival season.
Diesel consumption, a key parameter linked to economic growth and which accounts for about 40% of overall refined fuel sales in India, totalled about 6.21 million tonnes in November.
On a month on month basis, sales of diesel by state refiners rose 8% in November from October, reflecting some improvement in activity but the year-on-year decline suggests activity is still well below levels of a year ago.
The three state refiners - Indian Oil Corp, - Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp - together operate 90% of the retail fuel stations in the country.
The contraction of the Indian economy eased off in the three months to September amid signs of a pick-up in manufacturing, and economists expect a steady recovery next year if progress on coronavirus vaccines spurs consumer demand.
Sales of petrol rose 4.9% in November from a year earlier to 2.4 million tonnes, or growth of about 8% from October, the data showed.
Sales of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) during the month rose 4.5% from a year earlier to 2.36 million tonnes, while jet fuel sales declined by 48% to 346,000 tonnes as air travel was still largely restricted.
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