Pump price rollbacks continue as oil tumbles to lowest level in 17 years

Published March 30, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Myrna M. Velasco

As crude prices had already plunged to the US$20 per barrel level, Philippine consumers can enjoy another week of price rollback at the scale of ₱2.00 per liter for gasoline; and ₱0.50 per liter for diesel.

The price of kerosene, which is the base for aviation fuel and is a commodity also seen most battered because of the wallop of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), will also be cut by ₱1.95 per liter at the domestic pumps.

As of press time, the oil companies that already advised on price reductions include Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, Cleanfuel, Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc, Chevron and Total – and most are effective on Tuesday (March 31); while the rest of the industry players are anticipated to follow.

Since many country borders have been closed roughly 2-3 weeks ago to repress the fast-spreading virus, people’s movement and economic activities have virtually halted, hence, the massive decline in oil consumption globally.

That then triggered precipitous slide in global prices, with the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude which is a bench¬mark for the American market, tumbling to as low as US$20 per barrel.

As of Friday trading, Brent crude which is the general pricing reference of international oil markets, was at the level of US$27 per barrel; while Dubai crude which is the benchmark for Asian markets, had been at US$28 per barrel.

In Singapore trading yesterday oil prices extended losses in Asian trade and languished at 17-year lows, with the coronavirus crisis escalating around the world and no end in sight to a vicious price war.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell 5.3 percent to trade at $20 a barrel, while international benchmark Brent crude was off 6.5 percent at $23.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) emphasized that “oil markets have been among the most volatile as the coronavirus crisis has deepened.”