‘Syria, dollar rate caused fuel price hike’By Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Oil firms have announced a new round of price hikes—among the highest for the year.
In separate announcements, Petron, Pilipinas Shell and Seaoil raised gasoline prices by P1.05 per liter, kerosene by P1.30 and diesel by P1.45. The adjustments took effect at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
The price hike was the highest this year for diesel. The adjustment for gasoline was not as high as the P1.15 per liter increase on Feb. 20.
So far, there has been a net increase of P0.25 in gasoline prices since the beginning of the year. For diesel, there was a net rollback of P0.87 since the start of 2013—but this was wiped out this week.
The prices reflect movements in foreign exchange rates and uncertainties in the international oil market, the oil firms said.
Industry sources said the depreciation of the peso against the US dollar, from P42 to P43: $1 last week, accounted for more than half of the price adjustments. The rest was due to actual product price increases in the international market.
“The oil price adjustment effective today was expected,” Zenaida Y. Monsada, director of the Oil Industry Management Bureau at the Department of Energy, said in a text message.
The day before, Monsada said gasoline and diesel prices were likely to increase “by around P1” this week, driven by international market price speculation due to the unrest in Syria.
“The dollar also strengthened a lot. The impact of the peso-dollar exchange is bigger than that of the price of oil in the international market,” Monsada said.
The impact of foreign exchange movements alone accounts for 80 centavos per liter, without including the price increases of the actual products, she said.
The supply is there but “what we see as more of a factor is the threat of supply disruption due to the volatile situation in Syria,” Monsada said.
Foreign exchange movements are due to the strengthening US dollar, buoyed by recovering US economic indicators.