Sensex falls 102 points; Nifty tests 18,100

IOC eyes full refinery run as fuel demand rebounds

‘Petrol, LPG back to pre-COVID levels’

Indian Oil Corp. (IOC), the nation’s largest oil firm, expects refinery run to reach 100% within a quarter as fuel demand returns, its chairman S.M. Vaidya said.

Speaking at India Energy Forum by CERAWeek, he said petrol and cooking-gas LPG demand was already above pe-COVID levels and diesel — the most consumed fuel in the country — was inching back to normalcy.

“Energy demand is rebounding in India with the revival of economic activity” after a devastating pandemic, he said.

India’s energy demand had halved after a nationwide lockdown was imposed in March last year. But with gradual easing of restrictions, economic activity has rebounded. Mr. Vaidya said the robust energy demand in India is only set to grow in the future.

“LPG and petrol have already exceeded pre-COVID levels, and we expect refinery capacity to reach 100% by the next quarter,” he said. IOC’s refineries operated at 82% of capacity in September and are operating above 90% this month.

He said IOC is strengthening its core business of refining and is looking to enhance its refining capacity to 105 million tonnes per annum from the current 80.5 million tonne at the cost of $13.5 billion.

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Petrol, diesel prices hiked for third straight day

The price of petrol in Delhi rose to its highest-ever level of ₹106.89 a litre and ₹112.78 per litre in Mumbai.

Petrol and diesel prices on Friday touched an all-time high across the country after rates were hiked for the third consecutive day by 35 paise per litre each.

The price of petrol in Delhi rose to its highest-ever level of ₹106.89 a litre and ₹112.78 per litre in Mumbai, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.

In Mumbai, diesel now comes for ₹103.63 a litre, while in Delhi, it costs ₹95.62 per litre.

This is the third consecutive day of the price hike. There was no change in rates on October 18 and 19, prior to which prices were hiked by 35 paise per litre each on four straight days.

While petrol has already hit the ₹100-a-litre mark or more in all major cities of the country, diesel has touched that level in over a dozen states and is treading towards that mark in places from Srinagar to Chennai.

Diesel costs ₹99.49 a litre in Srinagar, while it is priced at ₹99.92 in Chennai.

Prices differ from State to State, depending on the incidence of local taxes.

Petrol price has been hiked on 19 occasions since September 28, when a three-week-long hiatus in rate revision ended. In all, prices have gone up by ₹5.7 a litre.

Diesel rates have been increased by ₹7 per litre in 22 hikes since September 24.

Prior to that, the petrol price was increased by ₹11.44 a litre between May 4 and July 17. The diesel rate had gone up by ₹9.14 per litre during this period.

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U.S. nuclear envoy visits S. Korea amid N. Korea missile tension, stalled talks

The U.S. envoy for North Korea arrived in South Korea on Saturday amid stalled denuclearization talks and tension over Pyongyang's recent missile tests.

Special Representative Sung Kim's visit came days after North Korea fired a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), which prompted criticism from Washington and calls for a return to talks aimed at denuclearizing the North in return for U.S. sanctions relief.

kim, after talks in Washington with South Korean and Japanese counterparts on Tuesday, urged North Korea "to refrain from further provocations and engage in sustained and substantive dialogue."

Pyongyang so far has rejected U.S. overtures, accusing the United States and South Korea of talking diplomacy while ratcheting up tensions with their own military activities.

On Thursday, the North said the United States was overreacting to its self-defensive SLBM test and questioned the sincerity of Washington's offers of talks, warning of consequences.

Arriving in South Korea, Kim said he looks forward to having "productive follow up discussions" with his counterpart, without elaborating.

Sensex falls 102 points; Nifty tests 18,100

ITC was the top loser in the Sensex pack, followed by Maruti, Infosys, NTPC, HCL Tech and Tata Steel.

Equity benchmark Sensex declined 102 points on Friday, tracking losses in ITC, Maruti and Infosys amid mixed cues from global markets.

The 30-share BSE index fell 101.88 points or 0.17% to 60,821.62. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty shed 63.20 points or 0.35% to close at 18,114.90.

ITC was the top loser in the Sensex pack, slipping over 3%, followed by Maruti, Infosys, NTPC, HCL Tech and Tata Steel.

On the other hand, HDFC, Bajaj Auto, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Bank, Titan and Axis Bank were among the gainers.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Seoul and Shanghai ended in the red, while Hong Kong and Tokyo settled with gains.

Stock exchanges in Europe were also trading with gains in mid-session deals.

Meanwhile, the rupee slipped 3 paise to close at 74.90 against the U.S. dollar.

International oil benchmark Brent crude rose 0.52% to $85.05 per barrel.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were net sellers in the capital market on Thursday, offloading shares worth ₹2,818.90 crore, as per exchange data.