India’s crude oil imports fall, product exports surge in April

India’s crude oil imports in April recorded their biggest year-on-year fall in 10 months as coronavirus-induced lockdown restrictions halted economic activity and sapped demand.

Crude oil imports in April fell 12.4 percent to 17.28 million tonnes from a year earlier, its steepest decline since June 2019, data on the website of Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell said.

Oil product imports also dropped 6.5 percent to 3.35 million tonnes, their first year-on-year decline in 16 months. But exports of refined products had their biggest rise year-on-year since October 2016 because of a slowdown in domestic demand.

Fuel demand in April plunged more than 45 percent as coronavirus lockdown restrictions hit industrial activity. This prompted Indian refiners to continue prompt exports of refined fuels to avoid a complete shutdown.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended the country’s coronavirus lockdowns to May 31, but relaxed rules in areas with lower numbers of cases, raising hopes fuel demand will recover.

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