Russell: India, Not China, Powering Growth in Fuel Demand

Reuters

(The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters.)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Nov 19 (Reuters) -- China's fuel usage tends to gather headlines as an indicator of the strength of global crude oil demand, and while this has been justified, the real growth action is happening over the Himalayas in India.

India's total demand for oil products is about one one-third of that in China, but the South Asian nation is powering up as China's growth moderates.

This isn't entirely unexpected given that the slowdown in China's economic growth is well known, as is the rotation towards a more service- and consumer-oriented economy from one reliant on heavy industry.

India's rapid gains in fuel consumption have seen it overtake Japan to become Asia's second-largest crude oil importer behind China, and this growth trend appears likely to continue.

India's fuel demand in October grew at its fastest pace in almost 12 years, rising 17.5 percent from the same month a year earlier, according to data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell, a unit of the oil ministry.

Total consumption of refined oil products was 15.2 million tonnes, which equates roughly to 3.6 million barrels per day (bpd).


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