Pakistan ships fuel oil as economic crisis hits power usage

Fuel oil-exports from Pakistan swelled to a record last month as the nation that’s typically been an importer of the fuel faces lower domestic demand on cooler weather and a crippling economic crisis.

The South Asian country shipped out 164,000 tons in April, the largest volume since at least 2017, according to Kpler data compiled by Bloomberg. It did not import any fuel oil during March and last month, according to the figures.

The unprecedented flows came against a backdrop of severe economic dislocation, with activity slumping, inflation soaring, and the currency weakening. At present, officials are in talks with the International Monetary Fund to restart a $6.5 billion bailout program key to avoiding a default. 

Pakistan’s power usage is far below year-ago levels, Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said in a recent interview. There’s weaker demand for electricity caused by relatively cool weather and higher power prices, he said.