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Indian oil demand in April eased m/m to 4.64 mb/d, higher y/y by just 26 thousand b/d on a strong base and as demand fell sharply for bitumen (-6% y/y) and petcoke (-18.5%). Indeed, total other oils demand fell by 17.2% y/y. Light ends led the y/y gains, with gasoline demand rising by 49 thousand b/d y/y to 0.7 mb/d. Demand still eased slightly m/m with retail sales of motor vehicles falling as consumers held off making new purchases ahead of the election. LPG demand growth slowed to 17 thousand b/d y/y at 0.75 mb/d. Partially offsetting this was weak naphtha demand (-30 thousand b/d). Diesel demand was higher y/y by 39 thousand b/d at 1.83 mb/d and with private weather forecasts from Skymet indicating below average rains through the monsoon season due to the effects of El Niño weather patterns, diesel demand should remain supported over the coming months. Jet demand declined y/y for the first time since March 2015, by 10 thousand b/d, impacted by the collapse of Jet Airways on 17 April. The company had a fleet of 119 planes which operated 600 flights per day, one of the largest in India.
Refinery runs fell m/m by 0.26 mb/d to 5.1 mb/d (+0.2 mb/d y/y). Planned works at IOC’s Koyali reduced throughputs by 0.1 mb/d m/m while HPCL’s Mumbai refinery went offline in early April, also reducing runs by 0.1 mb/d m/m. We expect runs in May to recover m/m driven by a 0.20 mb/d decrease in planned refinery maintenance. A steep rise in crude imports, up m/m by 0.32 mb/d to 4.8 mb/d led to crude stocks building by 0.4 mb/d as India ramped up purchases from Russia to offset losses from Iran where imports declined to 0.28 mb/d. We expect higher imports from the US and Saudi Arabia to fill the gap left by Iran after the US did not renew waivers.