Oil companies halt auto fuel price rise though crude remains firm

The petrol price march towards all time high levels has been temporarily halted by the oil marketing companies (OMCs) as they chose to keep the retail rates of petrol and diesel static for the fourth consecutive day even though global oil prices remained firm with crude above $ 50 a barrel.

Accordingly, there was no change in retail price of auto fuels on Friday with price of petrol remaining at Rs 83.71 a litre and diesel Rs 73.87 a litre in Delhi. Across the country as well the price of the two petroleum products remained unchanged.

Surprisingly, OMCs have gone on a pause mode at a time when the news of successful coronavirus and expectations of a big pick up in demand had kept crude on the boil with prices breaching $ 50 a barrel mark.

Petrol price was very close to breaching the all time high level of Rs 84 a litre (reached on October 4, 2018) when it touched Rs 83.71 a litre on Monday. But the march has been halted ever since then with no price revision by the OMCs.

Global crude prices have risen almost $ 10 a barrel in the last one month to reaching over $ 50 a barrel now. But even at this level, it is far less than an average crude price of $ 80.08 a barrel in October 2018 when petrol prices reached highs of Rs 84 a litre in the national capital.

With Friday’s pause, fuel prices have now increased on 15 of the past 22 days with petrol price rising by Rs 2.65 per litre and diesel by 3.41 a litre.

Petrol price had been static since September 22, and diesel rates hadn’t changed since October 2.

Though retail pricing of petrol and diesel has been deregulated and oil marketing companies were following a daily price revision formula, the same was suspended for almost two months to prevent volatility in international oil markets from impacting fuel prices regularly during the pandemic.

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