By Myrna Velasco
Consumers can expect slight financial relief in their pockets next week as pump prices are expected to be on lean rollbacks of P0.05 to P0.15 per diesel; and P0.25 to P0.40 per liter for gasoline.
That had been hinged on the calculation of the oil companies based on the outcome of four-day trading in the world market, entailing then that actual adjustments could still change depending on the result of Friday’s trading.
Since the super price spikes in September, what came next for the industry had been two weeks of relatively significant price cuts; then the marginal rollbacks in the past two weeks.
International oil prices relatively settled within the US$57 per barrel range last week, with not much geopolitical events disturbing supply-demand dynamics in markets.
The Philippine peso to the US dollar exchange rate also treaded in the direction which had been more favorable to the local currency, hence, that is not manifesting as a major factor in oil price adjustments in the past weeks.
But the controversy in oil pricing at the pumps had not tapered off yet in the Philippines, with the Department of Energy (DOE) igniting fresh round of amendments in the Oil Deregulation Law.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi already went as far as making proposal to the Cabinet to have the oil deregulation law amended – but that had been an exercise failing to gain ground across administrations.
At the same time, Cusi is pushing for a probe and explanation on the disparity of pricing across areas – such as what the DOE deems as P7 to P10 per liter difference in the prices of oil products in Baguio compared to the cheaper prices monitored in La Union and Pangasinan provinces.
Such incongruity in pricing had first become a constant concern for consumers in the Visayas – primarily in Cebu province that was tracked to have higher oil prices compared to neighboring provinces like Iloilo and Leyte.
The pricing puzzle remains unsolved especially so since the precept of “market forces” remain as the strongest driver in the weekly adjustments at the domestic pumps.