French diesel demand collapsing

The use of the fuel is commonly seen as an indicator of economic activity

Sales of road diesel in France saw a significant year-on-year drop of 13% in September, Bloomberg reported this week, citing industry data.

Demand for diesel-type fuel at national level signals a slowdown in the country’s manufacturing activity, as it is vital for the transport and industrial sectors of the economy.

“The sharp decline in French road transport diesel demand reflects this increasing pressure on the French economy and slowdown in industrial activity and transportation of goods,” Emma Howsham, a research analyst at the Wood Mackenzie consultancy, told Bloomberg.

Growth in the French economy has recently slowed to a meager rate, with the Bank of France indicating an expansion of only 0.1% in the third quarter. Output increased by 0.1% in the three months through September compared to 0.5% growth in the previous quarter.

The country’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI), a measure of economic health, has hit its lowest level since May 2020, according to the latest data from S&P Global.

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Eurozone facing contraction – S&P

France is not the only Eurozone state showing signs of sluggish demand for diesel-type fuel. In Germany, Spain and Italy, diesel sales also saw a decline in September compared to the same month a year ago.

According to Howsham, demand for diesel-type fuels in Europe’s OECD countries was down by 160,000 barrels per day between January and September compared to a year earlier, marking a drop of about 3%.

The International Energy Agency had previously issued a similar report, saying consumption of diesel-type fuels in Europe had dropped by 260,000 barrels per day last quarter compared to a year earlier.

In its most recent monthly Oil Market Report, the agency predicted that demand for diesel in the region would decline further by about 150,000 barrels per day for both this year and 2024.

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