Considering the fact that the country is struggling with the second wave of COVID, induced mobility restrictions in various parts of the country, India’s import of crude has plateaued in April 2021.
India imported 18.26 million tonne (mt) of crude oil paying about $8.5 billion in April 2021, almost the same level as 18.24 mt tonne crude oil import in March, 2021, according to Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) data.
In the first month of the financial year there is normally an increase in imports depending on prevailing oil prices as oil companies stock to meet the needs for the entire year. but this year, owing to almost 10 per cent fall in demand, imports had been restricted.
Also, the current crude is priced around $68-70 a barrel and oil companies are expecting this price to fall in coming months owing to Covid induced demand suppression and entry of Iran back into international trade of oil that could increase supplies and soften oil prices again.
The April crude import, though at almost the same level as the previous month, is actually 10.3 per cent higher than April of 2020 that for the first time witnessed nationwide lockdown owing to Covid -19. However, in April, 2021 India’s oil import bill at almost the current level of oil imports stood at a mere $3 billion as prices had crashed during that period due to glut like situation.
Oil products’, including petrol and diesel imports rose about 24.1 per cent YoY to 3.50 mt in April, 2021. But even product import was down 14.6 per cent from March, while exports slumped 35.8 per cent to 3.9 mt in April, 2021 as against imports of 6 mt in the same period of previous year.