September 23, 2019 / 12:37 PM / 24 days ago

India's August crude imports highest in 4-months, fuel imports peak

(Reuters) - India’s crude oil imports rose to a 4-month peak in August, while fuel oil imports climbed to the highest in more than eight years, data from the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) showed on Monday.

Crude imports into the world’s third-largest consumer rose 5.5% from a year earlier to 19.66 million tonnes, and increased by about 1.7% from July’s 19.34 million tonnes. It was the most imported since April.

Fuel oil imports rose to 306,000 tonnes in August, a peak since PPAC data going back to at least 2011.

Imports of oil products jumped by about 23.2% from a year earlier, while those of naphtha, generally used as a solvent to dilute heavy crude oil, rose to their its highest since April 2018.

Diesel imports fell about 55% to their lowest since December at 51,000 tonnes. Gasoline, or petrol imports slid 29% month-on-month to 174,000 tonnes after having climbed to their highest level since at least April 2011 in July.

India and China are Asia’s biggest importers and buy a combined 12% of the world’s oil.

Meanwhile, product exports fell 5.2% year-on-year, the data showed, with LPG exports dropping to their lowest since November 2018.

China’s gasoline exports in August eased from near-record highs posted in the previous month, while diesel exports came in lower than July.

Shipped imports in July from India and China were about half a million barrels per day (bpd) below their January-June average of 12.4 million bpd, shipping data showed in August, eroding a key pillar of global petroleum prices amid trade tensions.

Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely and Louise Heavens

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