KARACHI: Petrol imports are likely to touch a record high this month, crossing 400,000 tonnes, as consumers are switching to petrol because of lower prices and scant availability of compressed natural gas (CNG). Thus far the highest import of 382,000 tonnes of oil was recorded in July 2015.
Higher sales of cars, motorcycles and rickshaws, and rising imports of generators have also pushed up demand for petrol.
Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC) CEO Ilyas Fazil said that in March 2016 petrol sales rose to a record 553,253 tonnes (of which 142,000 tonnes were produced by local refineries), breaking the previous high of 511,185 tonnes registered in October 2015.
Sales stood at 448,000 tonnes in February 2016. During July-March 2015-16, around 4.2 million tonnes of petrol were sold, which was 26 per cent higher than 3.32m tonnes in the same period of last fiscal year.
Keeping in view the demand-supply situation, the OCAC would firm up the plan for petrol imports for May shortly, Mr Fazil said.
Imports of cars (mostly used ones) rose 26pc to $234m in July-March FY16 from $185m in the same period last fiscal year while bike imports jumped 108pc to $2.56m from $1.2m.
Arrivals of completely knocked-down (CKD) and semi knocked-down (SKD) kits went up by 9.6pc to $386m in the last eight months compared to $352m a year earlier, while kits imports for bikes rose 19pc to $76m from $64m.
Car sales increased to 137,206 units in July-March as compared to 105,344 in the same period last fiscal year. Honda sold 601,764 bikes during the period as compared to 464,839 a year ago.
The import bill of power generators grew 43pc year-on-year to $1.3 billion in July-March FY16 from $934m.
Umair Naseer of Topline Securities said oil sales increased 9pc year-on-year and 13pc month-on-month in March 2016 to 2m tonnes on the back of record sales of motor gasoline (MOGAS).
During July-March FY16, oil sales rose 5pc to 16.7m tonnes driven by growth in white oil (MOGAS and diesel).
MOGAS registered strong growth due to sharp drop in petrol prices and increased purchasing power. The government has reduced petrol prices by 11pc year-on-year as of March 2016, which has also resulted in lower price differential between petrol and CNG, Mr Fazil said.
High-speed diesel (HSD) sales also grew 12pc year-on-year to 600,000 tonnes driven by lower oil prices and increased demand from the transportation sector. Sales of furnace oil fell 7pc to 700,000 tonnes due to availability of liquefied natural gas (LNG), he believed.
Courtesy : Dawn News