Subdued fuel market data reflecting economic slowdown

Despite the considerable drop of fuel prices in the Greek market, demand for unleaded fuel and diesel fell in the ten-month period compared to the equivalent period last year, mirroring the economic slowdown prompted by the imposition of capital controls in the summer and maintained in the autumn as a result of the onslaught of tax demands on citizens.

Demand fell by 6 percent, year-on-year, for unleaded fuel in the ten-month period, and 2 percent for diesel. The 6-percent drop in demand for unleaded fuel is not at all negligible. If the decline continues at the same rate until the end of December, this would mean a 151,000-ton drop of unleaded fuel consumption for the year compared to 2014, when 2.55 million tons of unleaded fuel was sold.

Oddly, traffic congestion in Athens appears to have has worsened, especially from September onwards. However, the traffic picture is subdued when looked at from a nationwide perspective. As was pointed out to energypress by Yiannis Aligizakis, president of SEEPE, the Hellenic Petroleum Marketing Companies Association, traffic flow on the country’s national highways has fallen drastically. The transportation sector is also subdued.

Consumption of diesel fuel used for professional purposes, in the transportation sector, has dropped by 20 percent compared to last year, the SEEPE chief noted.

Sector data for local fuel demand had shown encouraging signs during the first half of the year, hinting at some stability for the first time since 2012 and 2013, when auto fuel demand in Greece plunged amid the recession. But the arrival of capital controls last summer, in late June, put an abrupt end to any signs of increased activity. The bad news had first been indicated by market data for the eight-month period, when demand for unleaded fuel fell by 3 percent and 1 percent for diesel.

Unleaded fuel is currently 12 percent cheaper than last year, dropping to 1.40 euros per liter from 1.59 euros. The price of diesel has fallen even more considerably, by 19 percent year-on-year, to 1.11 euros per liter from 1.37 euros per liter. Heating fuel is now priced at 0.83 euros per liter compared to 1.049 euros per liter last year, a 21 percent drop.

Market officials warn the poor fuel demand figures registered in the auto sector for the ten-month period will be worsened once heating fuel data for this coming winter is factored into the equation. Autumn demand for heating fuel has been subdued as a result of the mild weather conditions.