Sri Lanka petrol sales on high gear, diesel volumes collapse

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s petrol sales rose 16.4 percent or 34,000 metric tonnes to 309,000 metric tonnes in the first four months of 2015, following price cuts, while diesel sales collapsed by 173,000 metric tonnes as hydro power generation picked up, official data showed.

In the month of April alone petrol sales rose 20.3 percent of 14,000 metric tonnes to 84,000 metric tonnes, data from the Central Bank showed.

In 2013 amid slow economic activity and a credit slowdown petrol sales slumped 16.2 percent or 15.8 percent or 11,000 metric tonnes from a year earlier to 57,000 metric tonnes.

Petrol is heavily taxed and is a key revenue earner for the government.

Diesel sales fell 20.9 percent or 38,000 metric tonnes to 145,000 metric tonnes in April 2015 from a year earlier. In the first four months of the year, diesel sales fell 173,000 metric tonnes (22.7 percent) to 591,000 metric tonnes.

Furnace oil sales were also down 63 percent to 142,000 metric tonnes.

Large volumes of furnace oil and diesel is used for power generation. During the first four months of the year, liquid fuelled power generation fell 72 percent to 219 million units (GigaWatt hours), while hydro and coal power rose.

Despite plunging oil and coal prices and lower volumes of imports Sri Lanka is heading for balance of payments trouble and the rupee is under pressure, due to excessive money printing. Vehicle imports are also rising due to cheap credit despite a hike in taxes of hybrid cars. (Colombo/Aug29/2015)

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