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Pakistan's oil demand jumps 13% on low prices, economic growth

Singapore (Platts)--14 Mar 2017 646 am EDT/1046 GMT


Pakistan's oil consumption from July 2016 to February 2017 jumped 13% year on year, owing to lower petroleum product prices and higher economic activity, driven by GDP growth, foreign investment and greater political stability.

Pakistan's economy expanded 4.2% in 2016, foreign investment has continued to grow -- attracted by the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project -- and improvements in the country's security front, following the government's efforts to combat terrorism, have also led to economic gains and additional investment.

Oil sales during the first eight months of the current fiscal year rose 13% year on year to 16.67 million mt, according to data from oil marketing companies and the Pakistan's Oil Companies Advisory Committee. Pakistan's fiscal year runs from July to June.

Motor gasoline sales increased to 4.36 million mt, up 20% year on year, while demand for high speed diesel increased 15% to 5.46 million mt, the data showed.

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"Sales of both products moved north due to significantly lower prices and lower availability of compressed natural gas in the transport sector," said Muhammad Saad Ali, research analyst with Karachi-based brokerage Inter Market Securities.

The price of Pakistan's motor gasoline peaked in October 2013 at Rupees 114 ($1.1)/liter compared with Rupees 73/liter currently, while high speed diesel was at Rupees 117/liter versus the current price of Rupees 82/liter.

Sales of furnace oil also increased to 6.21 million mt from July 2016 to February 2017, up 10% year on year, driven by higher consumption by the power generation sector amid lower water levels and weak hydroelectric production.


OIL CONSUMPTION OUTLOOK


Looking ahead, Pakistan's oil products demand is expected to see substantial growth over the next three years because of rising per capita income, higher automotive sales and growing foreign investment, according to data from energy experts and analysts.

"We believe that oil marketing companies' sales will increase in the backdrop of active transportation activity owing to projects near the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, rising auto-financing loans and higher per capita income," said Ayesha Fayyaz, research analyst at Karachi-based brokerage Shajar Capital Ltd.

Gasoline demand is expected to increase to 10.9 million mt in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020, from 5.8 million mt in the year ended June 2016.

The forecast is well above earlier estimates made by Pakistan's Oil Companies Advisory Committee, expecting gasoline demand to reach 8.78 million mt by 2019-20.

"Motor gasoline and high speed diesel sales will continue to be driven by improving macroeconomic factors, and rising sales of cars, bikes and rickshaws," analyst Umair Naseer of Karachi-based Topline Securities said.

"Under CPEC, there will be construction of road infrastructure and industrial units. This, we believe, will lead to an increase in transportation activity and higher gasoline and diesel demand," Naseer added.

The outlook seems less promising for furnace oil, Fayyaz said.

"We are conservative about the volumetric growth in furnace oil due to the expansion of the LNG and hydroelectric power sectors," she said.

--Haris Zamir, newsdesk@spglobal.com
--Abache Abreu, abache.abreu@spglobal.com
--Edited by E Shailaja Nair, shailaja.nair@spglobal.com

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