Hefty oil pump price hikes are back

Published March 13, 2021, 11:24 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

As global prices consistently flirted within the $69 to $70 per barrel territory in last week’s trading, pump price hikes are back in the domestic oil market and out to financially torment Filipino consumers anew next week.

MB file photo. (Mark Balmores)

Based on the calculation of the oil companies, gasoline prices will likely rise by P1.15 to P1.25 per liter, while diesel will go up by P0.80 to P0.90 per liter.

For kerosene products, which underpin the fuel needs of the aviation sector and also a widely used commodity among households, this is estimated to go up by P0.85 to P0.95 per liter.

Oil companies are expected to adjust their prices on Tuesday (March 16), and will anchor the movement of their pump prices on cost swings hinged on the Mean of Platts Singapore (MOPS), since most of the industry players are importers of finished petroleum products.

This new round of price hikes followed a very interim rollback last week, an instance wherein consumers were also cautioned on expectations that the reverse will happen again in the coming days.

Based on the monitoring of the Department of Energy (DOE), the year-to-date adjustments in Philippine oil prices already logged net increase of P6.10 per liter for gasoline; P5.35 per liter for diesel; and P4.50 per liter for kerosene.

As noted by experts, the rally in prices in the world market was largely precipitated by the decision of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its ally-producers to keep production cuts, instead of them relaxing output quotas.

The global oil producers indicated that the “continued economic uncertainties” due to the unabated adverse impact of the pandemic prompted them on that decision, although they will be revisiting that on their scheduled meeting on April 1.

The overall prognosis will be ‘tighter supply’ in oil markets this year, given the economic reopening of many countries despite the recurring jolt of the health crisis, primarily due to Covid-19’s mutation into several variants.

The next developments closely monitored by market watchers are the targeted ‘herd immunity’ milestone that the United States (the world’s largest oil consumer), may be achieving by July, which may then bring them back to their driving season in the foreseeable future.

In the Asian oil market, it is being anticipated that the scheduled refinery maintenance shutdowns in the major markets of South Korea, Japan and China in the coming months will exert pressure on prices, hence, triggering fresh wave of cost upswings.