With the demand for fuel gradually returning to pre-Covid levels due to easing of lockdown restrictions, petrol and diesel prices were hiked for the 11th consecutive day today. Petrol is now costlier by 55 paise a litre and diesel by higher margin of 60 paise a litre. In these 11 days, petrol price has increased by ₹6 per litre and diesel price by ₹6.4 per litre.
Fuel rates are now at a 19-month high in India even as Brent crude rate, hovering around $40 a barrel mark, are at multi-year lows.
According to a report, oil firms are likely to maintain the momentum of daily price hike for few more days to make up for the margin gap of around ₹8 per litre.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to roll back the hike in fuel prices, saying the government’s decision is nothing short of profiteering off its people. The CPI has announced that it will hold nationwide protests against the hike in petrol and diesel prices on June 20, marking it as ‘Anti-Fuel-Hike Protest Day’.
After falling down to just 30% of the normal levels in April, fuel demand has now recovered to 82-85% of pre-Covid levels with the phased reopening of the economy.
In the international market, Brent crude oil futures were down 1%, at $40.56 a barrel. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast oil demand at 91.7 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2020, 500,000 bpd higher than its estimate in May’s report, citing higher than expected consumption during coronavirus lockdowns.