(Bloomberg) -- India’s diesel consumption is gathering pace with the onset of annual festivals, boosting sales to pre-pandemic levels in the first half of October in a sign that the economy is bouncing back.

The top three Indian fuel retailers sold 2.41 million tons of diesel Oct. 1-15, just 0.9% less than the corresponding period of 2019, according to preliminary figures from officials with direct knowledge of the matter. The sales were 14.5% higher than the same period a month earlier, they said, asking not to be named as the information is not public.

The nation’s month-long festival season -- typically during October and November -- is a busy time for diesel-guzzling trucks hitting the roads to deliver everything from clothes to refrigerators across the country. Reopening of schools and crop-harvesting activities will further boost the consumption of industrial fuel.

Diesel accounts for almost 40% of total oil product demand in the nation, and a rebound will boost refinery operations and crude imports by the world’s third-biggest oil consumer. The International Monetary Fund sees India’s gross domestic product expanding 9.5% in the year to March after contracting 7.3% last year.

Here’s a table of the preliminary data:

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