By Myrna Velasco
Filipino consumers begin their early Lenten penitence next week when gasoline prices go up by P0.80 to P0.90 per liter; and diesel by P0.65 to P0.75 per liter, based on the initial calculations of oil firms.
The figures on anticipated price increases in the pumps may still change a bit depending on the outcome of oil commodities trading in the world market.
Prices at the domestic pumps are scheduled for adjustments on Tuesday, April 16, often at 6:00 a.m., being the usual cost swings’ implementation track by the oil companies.
Industry players indicated that prices in the global market had been on uptrend last week. In the Asian region, the scheduled maintenance shutdowns of refineries have been exerting pressure on prices.
Prior to this round of adjustment, the prevailing prices of gasoline products in Metro Manila had been ranging from P50.34 to P62.57 per liter; and diesel at P41.19 to P48.95 per liter, according to the monitoring of the Department of Energy.
For kerosene, which is a commodity used in many rural households not just for their lighting needs but also for cooking and their daily subsistence on fishing, the price ranges had been at P44.89 to P55.10 per liter.
This will affect thousands of Filipinos who are intending to go on long travels during the Holy Week break.
Dubai crude, which is the pricing benchmark for Asian oil markets, already breached the higher-than-US$70 per barrel level due to the array of geopolitical tension and market speculations still jolting global oil markets.
Brent crude had climbed higher to more than US$71 per barrel; while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude almost reached US$64 per barrel.
Market watchers and industry players are currently assessing if it will already be the end of the “production cuts deal” of the members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and their counterpart Russian producers – with the scheduled Vienna meeting of the alliance in June this year.
The OPEC and non-OPEC producers agreed during the latter part of last year to cut production by as much as 1.2 million barrels per day, with the OPEC committing production cutback of 800,000 barrels and the Russian-led contingent opting for output trim of 400,000 barrels per day.
In recent months when compliance to the deal intensified, it has been observed that prices in the market had been on a series of increases, and this has been subsequently reflected in the pump prices of markets around the globe.