Petroleum product traders have experienced a slight improvement in sales figures since the relaxation of lockdown measures at the beginining of May.
During this 13-day period, the fuel sales drop has been contained to 30 percent compared to regular levels, far better than a slump that reached as low as 60 percent in April.
The pandemic’s impact on diesel has been milder. Sales for this fuel are now down 10 percent after dropping 30 percent in April.
Market officials attributed this increase to the first-stage relaxation of lockdown measures. Also, the general public has remained apprehensive about using public transport, prompting a further rise in the use of private vehicles.
Heating fuel sales were up over the past few weeks compared to an equivalent period last year as consumers took advantage of a massive drop in oil prices to stock up for next winter.
A new extension granted by the government for heating fuel supply until the end of the month is not expected to make an impact on sales figures. Most consumers have already stocked up and heating fuel prices are now gradually rising.
The pandemic’s development, impact on wider activities and, most crucially, tourism this summer will be instrumental for the future course of fuel sales figures. Current levels are expected to remain unchanged over the next two to three months.
A finance ministry relief measure for payments of special consumption tax and VAT on fuel purchased between May 4 and 19 has not been a great help for market liquidity, officials pointed out.