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Diesel consumption enters recovery pace

06/29/2020 | 14h01

Diesel consumption in Brazil hit rock bottom in April, but has been showing signs of recovery since then. Companies such as Petrobras, BR Distribuidora and Raízen report having already reached pre-crisis levels in sales of the derivative. June, according to industry sources, was a good month. The figures from the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP), in turn, show that the market is undergoing a recovery, but that it is not yet complete.


Raízen's director of institutional relations, Cláudio Oliveira, explains that the resumption of diesel consumption is essentially linked to agribusiness activity, especially the grain harvest. Agriculture has been driven by the recovery of the Chinese economy, the drier climate and the fact that the ports are freer, in the face of the economic crisis - which has meant that the flow of the harvest is without logistical competitors.


"Our highway stations are doing very well, with a lot of demand. But it is a resumption almost exclusively due to agribusiness. The industrial sector has not really recovered yet and road (passenger) transportation shows signs of improvement, but still below (the levels pre-pandemic) ", commented the executive.


Oliveira says that the distributor's diesel sales returned to pre-pandemic levels in May (that is, before the end of March). In June, according to the executive, demand intensified even more, driven by the increase in grain exports - the company, however, does not report the growth percentages compared to the months before the crisis.


The executive points out, however, that attention is drawn to the growth in demand in the North and Northeast regions. Raízen accounts for 17.7% of the sales volume of diesel in the country, lagging behind BR and Ipiranga.


It is in large urban centers that there are more restrictions on the consumption of the derivative, especially in the public transport system. Oliveira points out that, despite the recovery, although timid in this sector, the pandemic has been internalized and that smaller cities will also live with mobility restrictions in the coming months.


In addition to Raízen, BR - leader in the volume of diesel sales, with a market share of 28.9% - has also seen an improvement in the numbers of the diesel market. The president of the company, Rafael Grisolia, said, during the "Live do Valor", last week, that he sees with optimism the recovery of the demand for the derivative. He pointed out that the diesel sales data usually work as a good leading indicator of the reactivation of the economy.


According to BR, in April, the volumes sold by the company were about 5% below the average of the first quarter (excluding the last week of March, when social isolation started to gain strength in the country). In May, these volumes were already 3% higher, on the same recovery basis. In June, figures compatible with March are already observed.


"In addition to this [agribusiness segment], the sugar-energy segment also collaborates, as well as the great resilience shown in the demands for the mining and cellulose sectors", informed the distributor.


Similar behavior has been reported by Petrobras, responsible for 98% of the country's refining capacity. Earlier this month, the state's refining and natural gas director, Anelise Lara, said demand for the fuel had already recovered to pre-crisis levels. The executive also highlighted that she expects for June and July new "moderate increases" in the demand for fuels. Anelise said that in May, the company sold 3.2 billion liters of diesel.


There is a lack of data on the market, however, on how sales have been performing in June, compared to the same period last year. The ANP data show, in turn, that, at least until May, the demand had not yet recovered completely.


According to the regulator, national diesel consumption rose 8.7% last month, compared to April, the peak of social isolation measures imposed by public authorities in an attempt to contain the progress of the new coronavirus. The ANP survey shows, however, that sales of the derivative still remained, in May, 9% below the levels of the same month of 2019 and 3.5% below the average of the first quarter. In total, 4.361 billion liters of the product were sold last month.


Carriers have also seen a recovery since May. Data from AT&M Tecnologia, the company responsible for registering 90% of cargo transport in the country, indicate an increase of 13% in relation to April in the amount handled - although in comparison with the same month of 2019 there is still a decrease of 6%.


This increase has been driven by the sectors of electronic commerce, agribusiness, medicines, hygiene and perfumery products and supermarkets, according to the company, which, in May, still observed a retraction in the automotive and industrial segment.


For Cesar Meireles, president of the Brazilian Association of Logistic Operators (Abol), the expectation is that with the reopening of retail in several regions, this increase in the flow of trucks will intensify. "We are seeing a resumption of logistics, which is nothing more than a reflection of the easing of isolation, but it is too early to say how much this increase will represent," he says.

Font: T&B Petroleum/Boletim SCA
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