India's fuel demand plunges in May on COVID-19 lockdowns - data

    * Gasoline, diesel sales fall by 19%-20% in May vs April
    * Jet fuel consumption down by nearly 28%
    * Rystad Energy cuts India's May refinery run rate estimates
    * Rystad sees India's May refiners runs at 4.2 million bpd

    By Nidhi Verma
    NEW DELHI, June 1 (Reuters) - Indian state refiners' daily
gasoline and gasoil sales declined by about a fifth in May from
a month earlier as lockdowns to curb the second deadly wave of
COVID-19 hit industrial activities and consumption, preliminary
data showed on Tuesday.
    Daily gasoline sales in May fell by about 19% from April
while diesel consumption, which is linked to industrial activity
and accounts for over two-fifths of India's fuel demand, fell by
19.9%, data compiled by state refiners showed.
    India's factory activity growth slowed significantly in May
as a rise in coronavirus cases whacked new orders and output,
the Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index
compiled by IHS Markit showed on Tuesday.
    Rising retail prices of gasoline and gasoil along with
lockdowns hit fuel demand in May, said an official at one of the
refiners. He hoped fuel consumption would soon start improving
as the number of infections is declining and states are
gradually easing restrictions.
     India's official tally of daily infections of coronavirus
fell to the lowest in nearly six weeks to 196,427 in the past 24
    Indian fuel demand had recovered to near pre-pandemic levels
in March but has been sliding since April owing to a resurgence
in infections, prompting Indian refiners to cut crude processing
and imports. 
    Consultancy Rystad Energy expects India's refinery runs to
fall to 4.2 million barrels per day (bpd) during May, a
600,000-bpd decrease from its previous forecast. 
    "After showing surprising resilience during April, we expect
India's refinery runs to drop by 700,000 bpd month-on-month in
May as refiners will have to adjust throughput to respond to the
imminent demand destruction," Rystad said. 
    State companies - Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan
Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd
- own about 90% of India's retail fuel outlets.
    Domestic fuel sales by state retailers, however, were higher
versus a year earlier when there was a nationwide lockdown.
    Below is a table of India' preliminary daily fuel sales data
with volumes in thousand tonnes.
 Product        May    Apr    %Chg   May    %Chg   May    %Chg
                2021   2021          2020          2019   
 Gasoline        57.9   71.4  -19.0   51.3   12.9   80.5   -28.1
 Gasoil         157.8  197.1  -19.9  155.6    1.4  225.5   -30.0
 Jet Fuel         9.2   12.7  -27.9    3.5  164.2   20.8   -55.8
 Liquefied       69.7   70.3   -0.8   74.3   -6.2   65.7     6.0
 Petroleum Gas                                            

 (Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)