Major petroleum product sales in South Africa grew by 5,9% in 1996 as compared to 1995, the South African Petroleum Industry Association announced today. This compares with growth of 5,3% for 1995 over 1994. This growth of 5,9% was achieved in spite of the significantly higher prices of petroleum products which prevailed in South Africa in 1996 as a result of the combined effects of the weakness of the Rand and higher international (dollar) oil prices.
Petrol sales, which account for more than half of total sales, grew by 4,1% for the year. Sales of diesel , an important agricultural, commercial and industrial fuel, grew by 6% for the year. Jet fuel sales grew by 17%. Sales of illuminating paraffin, a product on which over half of all South Africans are dependent for cooking, heating, lighting and refrigeration, grew by 7,9%.
Growth in the fourth quarter of 1996 over 1995 was 4,9%. This growth was lower than in the preceding three quarters of the year when the growth rate had exceeded 6%. As the fourth quarter of 1995 had been a quarter of strong growth, 6,5% above 1994, it would be premature to interpret the lower growth in the latest quarter as a sign of a slowdown in demand for petroleum products.
The penetration of unleaded petrol as a percentage of total petrol sales was 9,3% in December.
In response to requests for historical data, the Association makes available the quarterly figures for 1994 to 1998.