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Indonesia's Pertamina says jet fuel inventory rises, has stopped imports

[JAKARTA] Indonesian state energy company PT Pertamina on Monday said its jet fuel inventory had jumped this year amid faltering appetite from airlines, adding that it had stopped importing the fuel from the start of 2019.

The company's jet fuel stocks have this year averaged at levels that would last for 42 days, said Eldi Hendri, Pertamina's vice president for aviation and industrial marketing. That is up from around 30 days last year.

That comes after data from flag carrier Garuda Indonesia showed that it lowered its passenger carrying capacity by 24 per cent in the first quarter "to control fuel expenses".

Indonesia's jet fuel consumption so far in 2019 has fallen to 13,500 kilolitres per day from around 15,500 kilolitres in 2018, Hendri told reporters.

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"The drop in 2019 compared to 2018 was a result of the drop in air travel frequency in Indonesia," said Hendri.

Indonesian president Joko Widodo has asked airline operators to lower their prices to help support the tourism sector, as well as asking Pertamina, currently the nation's sole jet fuel distributor, to cut prices.

Hendri said on Monday that Pertamina sets fair prices for its customers considering the relatively high cost of logistics in the archipelago nation.

The company forecasts jet fuel consumption during Ramadan and the Eid Al-Fitr celebration this year to be around 14,500 kilolitres per day, down from 16,500 kilolitres per day at the same time last year.