Low Diesel Prices Spur Rising Europe Demand, as Imports Climb 25%
Lower diesel prices appear to be helping boost demand for the transport fuel in Europe, first-quarter data suggests, with imports climbing by 25% on the previous three-month period while demand and local refinery output also gain.
Imports of ultra-low sulfur gasoil totaled 9.6 million metric tons January through March, according to Eurostat, the European Commission's statistics agency.
That's 25% higher than volumes seen imported to the 28 member countries in the fourth quarter of 2014 and up 6% year on year.
Analysis of refinery output of gasoil and diesel in Europe also showed a 7% rise over the same period last year, while demand also gained 6.3% over the year-ago figure.
Demand for gasoil and diesel was measured at 71.5 million metric tons (or an average of 2.04 million b/d) in the first quarter of 2015, according to data from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI). That compared to 67.3 million tons for January through March in 2014, with totals 3.5% lower than the
Refinery output of gasoil and diesel was measured at 66.1 million tons (an average of 1.89 million b/d), up 7% from the same period a year ago, according to JODI figures.
Rising demand, imports and production was seen as monthly prices for diesel barges in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp region tumbled to average their lowest in OPIS records going back to 2011 over the quarter.
Diesel barge outright values averaged $479.51 per ton in January, as Brent crude prices fell amid rising oversupply, with cheaper costs appearing to spur greater demand for the transport fuel in Europe, as economies also strengthened.
Since January, average prices have recovered, rising to $599.80 per ton over May, OPIS data shows.
Diesel is the most popular transport fuel in Europe, with some 55% of new passenger cars in Europe using the middle distillate, and just under 43% using petrol, according to the most recent European Environment Agency figures.