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China India Demand

A Tale of Two Countries: Coronavirus Impacts on Energy Demand in China and India

The coronavirus outbreak is impacting energy demand in the world’s most populous countries, China and India, on different timescales

China was the first economy affected by the virus and is now in the process of recovering. Indian energy demand, on the other hand, had until recently remained relatively unscathed but is set to decline steeply after New Delhi imposed a nationwide lockdown.

Implied crude demand in China continued to recover in the last week of March from earlier in the month, ending at slightly over 2 MMb/d from its lows, but well-below levels that prevailed before the outbreak.

Chinese crude oil inventories extended earlier gains despite the implied recovery in refining activity, reaching a new record and bringing storage utilization close to 70%.

Kayrros satellite monitoring reveals that Chinese coal-fired power generation also rebounded last week from its earlier plunge and is now close to values seen in 2018 and 2019 at the same time of year. The increase is in line with the restart of various industries, such as cement plants. In Hubei Province, the epicenter of the pandemic, the number of active cement kilns rose between March 12-19, but later remained flat, showing that activity has yet to fully recover.

As another sign of industrial activity uptick, NO2 concentrations over China have increased again.

On March 24, India state oil refiners announced plans to reduce crude runs as domestic oil product demand took a nosedive amid the nationwide lockdown.

Kayrros analysis shows that implied crude demand dropped slightly in the week ended March 29. Crude oil inventories filled, and Kayrros measured a 2.7 MMb build in the country.

Kayrros satellite monitoring of coal power plants in India reveals a sharp drop in power generation since the end of March. Power generated from a sample of fifty-six coal power plants has reached multi-year lows.