Petrol tops ₹100-mark in Delhi after 7th hike even as global oil prices soften

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NEW DELHI: The price of petrol in Delhi crossed the 100-mark yet again on Tuesday after nearly three months as state-run retailers continued to hike fuel prices for the seventh time in the past eight days. Petrol today became costlier by 80 paise for a litre, while diesel price was hiked by 70 paise, making them dearer by 4.80 per litre since March 22. The revision in price comes at a time when international crude oil prices slumped 6.7% on Chinese demand concerns and prospects of a Russia-Ukraine peace talk.

With the latest price hike, petrol in Delhi is now sold at 100.21 a litre, and diesel at 91.47, according to Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the country’s largest fuel marketer. Retail prices of auto fuels vary across the country due to variations in state levies and transportation costs.

Petrol and diesel rates of Delhi surged to an all-time high of 110.04 a litre and 98.42, respectively, on November 2 last year, prompting the Union government to slash excise duties on fuels – 5 a litre on petrol and 10 a litre on diesel – to provide relief to consumers.

Several states also followed suit by reducing value-added tax (VAT). The Delhi government on December 2 slashed VAT on petrol by 8.52 a litre, bringing its pump price under the 100-mark. Since then petrol in Delhi was sold at 95.41 a litre and diesel at 86.67 till March 22 when companies started raising fuel rates after five assembly elections.

Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum and the oil ministry did not respond to an email query on the need to raise auto fuel rates even as their average cost of importing crude fell sharply since Friday. The benchmark Brent crude that had soared to $120.65 a barrel on Friday, fell by $8.17 on Monday to $112.48. The declining trend also continued the next day. On Tuesday, Brent fell below $110 a barrel during intraday trade.

India, which imports 85% of crude it processes, has also seen a significant decline in its average import cost over demand concerns due to a resurgence of the coronavirus in China and news of lockdowns in Shanghai. The cost of Indian basket of crude oil slumped by 414.29 per barrel, or 4.61%, on Monday to 8,572.06 a barrel compared to 8,986.35 on Thursday, according to official data.

Fuel marketers align pump prices daily on the basis of prevailing global rates the previous day.

During the intraday trade, Brent today fell by 2.23% to $109.97 a barrel on demand concerns.

Oil marketing companies may not be able to immediately pass on the benefits of a fall in crude oil prices to customers as they are recovering past revenue losses, two persons with direct knowledge of the matter said on conditions of anonymity. State-run fuel marketers and the oil ministry did not respond to a query on this matter.

Public sector oil companies control about 90% of the fuel retail market. They had frozen daily changes in petrol and diesel rates for 139 days since November 3 around the assembly elections.

During the freeze, international oil prices touched a peak of $139.13 per barrel on March 7, the last day of the polls. Election results were announced on March 10, and fuel prices went on an upward trajectory since March 22.



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