By Myrna Velasco
With global oil prices roughly steady in the past trading days, Filipino consumers will bear very slight up and down movements in petroleum pump prices this week.
According to the oil companies, the price of gasoline had been up by P0.30 per liter; while diesel was rolled back by marginal P0.15 per liter; and the price of kerosene will not move this week.
As of press time, the oil firms that already adjusted prices include Seaoil, PTT Philippines, Flying V, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation and Eastern Petroleum Corporation, effective 6:00 am on Tuesday (July 17) – while the rest are anticipated to follow.
Prices in the domestic market had been on seesaw the past weeks – with consumers experiencing two weeks of rollbacks in June; then series of price hikes in the past two weeks.
The dizzying turn in price adjustments had somehow been spinning the heads of not just the consumers but even government policymakers; as gyrating prices could at times trigger social agitation.
At the time that prices cognitively breached US$80 per barrel, Philippine government officials were literally jolted from their seats – that they went to the extent of suggesting oil importation from producer-countries outside of the enclaves of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced first shipment of oil procurement as early as June; then moved that timeline to July 15.
However, it remains to be seen if that enormously-wished for oil importation would still be viably needed given the fickle swing in global oil prices.
As of last Friday’s trading, Dubai crude, which is the pricing benchmark for Asian markets, had been at US$73.22 per barrel; while Brent crude hovered at US$75.33 per barrel.
To ease Filipino consumers’ uneasiness over upswing in prices, the government unveiled last week its ‘discount program’ for the public transport sector – a subsidy mechanism for the marginal sector under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act.
It will be providing fuel vouchers to public utility vehicle drivers (PUVs) that they can use to avail of discounts on petroleum products retailed at the pumps. (MMV)