Fuel prices to go down on strong peso, optimism over Syria

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01:15 AM September 15th, 2013

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By: Riza T. Olchondra, September 15th, 2013 01:15 AM

MANILA, Philippines—A substantial drop in gasoline prices with smaller rollbacks for diesel and kerosene will take place Monday morning amid a stronger peso and easing market jitters over the turbulence in Syria.

Oil firms Petron and Shell will push back pump prices for gasoline by P1.60 per liter. Diesel and kerosene prices will soften at the more modest rates of 80 centavos per liter and 85 centavos per liter, respectively. While other oil firms had not made similar announcements as of Saturday, they tend to track each other’s prices.

Including adjustments for the week, the year-to-date net increase in gasoline stood at P1.94 per liter while that of diesel remained at P3.28 per liter.

Last week, international oil prices fell amid US-Russia meetings in Geneva on the prospects of Syria giving up its chemical weapons and having a transitional government. That and a stronger peso (which hit a one-month high on Sept. 11) suggested that prices may soften in the Philippines since nearly all of the country’s fuel products are imported.

The local currency closed Friday at P43.86 against the greenback, a slight gain from the P43.89 on Thursday.

Oil prices, however, did not drastically plunge amid the lower output from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), whose supplies averaged 30.32 million barrels per day in August, down from a revised 30.50 million bpd the previous month, according to the Department of Energy’s Oil Monitor.

Also holding up prices were upward revisions in Japan’s second-quarter growth data and a surprise surge in Chinese factory output in August (boosting hopes of economic recovery in the world’s No. 2 economy after the US). These continued to stoke oil demand.

The Oil Monitor also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s continued support for Syria and the news that the US Federal Reserve will keep its economic stimulus measures in place longer than expected pushed prices up the previous week.

In the Asian market, Platts said the region’s gasoline may “find support” from US benchmark gasoline prices although regional fuel prices had been stable to bearish in previous weeks.

Syria is not a major source of crude oil but its proximity to— and relations with—major oil producers such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Kuwait make it a market to watch for fuel traders.

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