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India's gasoline output hits 7-month high as easing COVID restrictions boost driving activity

Singapore — India's gasoline output rose for the second consecutive month to hit a seven-month high in October as robust domestic demand due to the easing of movement restrictions prompted refiners to ramp up run rates.

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Gasoline output by the world's third-largest energy consumer rose 5.28% month on month to 3.147 million mt in October, Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell data showed. The monthly volume was last higher in March at 3.309 million mt, the data showed.

The rise in output mirrored the increase in run rates at Indian refiners in October, which was spurred by the robust recovery in domestic gasoline demand.

India's No. 1 state-owned refiner Indian Oil Corp. raised run rates at its refineries to 90% of capacity in October, with demand for gasoline and diesel recovering to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the month, and was reported Nov. 20 to have been running at full capacity since early November, S&P Global Platts reported earlier. No. 2 state-owned refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd raised the average run rate across its refineries to 86% in October due to the improved demand for gasoline, company officials said Oct. 29.

"It's not too surprising that output levels increased; Indian state-run refiners were running strongly [in October], demand was mostly back to normal," one gasoline trader said. "Demand in November is also expected to stay strong due to the holiday season," the trader added.

India's consumption of gasoline rose 8.31% on month to an 18-month high at 2.654 million mt in October, PPAC data released earlier showed.

Driving activity hit a year-to-date high at almost 60% above baseline levels in mid-November, according to mobility data from Apple.