By Myrna M. Velasco

The country’s oil companies have started announcing price cuts over the weekend at a range of P0.95 to P1.00 per liter for gasoline products, but there had been increases of P0.10 per liter for diesel; and P0.15 per liter for kerosene products.

201011 oil price hike01 balmores - Hefty cut for gas prices; little for diesel, kerosene

(MARK BALMORES / MANILA BULLETIN)

Maverick oil firm Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc. kicked off price rollbacks for gasoline products on Sunday (July 28) effective 6 a.m., implementing a more generous reduction of P1.00 per liter.

The Uy-led firm’s announcement was followed by Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, but with a leaner rollback of P0.95 per liter for gasoline products.

Shell’s price adjustment somehow served as the industry trendsetter this week because other players like Seaoil Philippines and PetroGazz followed its rollback lead.

These oil companies’ price adjustments would be effective on Tuesday (July 30), clearly indicating then that Phoenix Petroleum had been ahead of them for two days. The rest of the oil companies are anticipated to follow.

The oil industry players held on to their routine of just announcing the overall price adjustments, but advocacy consumer group Laban Konsyumer Inc. is wishing that had not been for the legally hurdled fuel unbundling policy of the Department of Energy (DOE), the consumers would have been more informed of the price components being passed on to them at the pumps.

By far, the government is not too lucky at compelling the companies to fully disclose their pricing parameters and elements; as the oil firms argued that the issued “cost unbundling policy” will be violating governance and compliance rules – such as the probable disclosure of unaudited financial results.

Price adjustments at the domestic pumps in the coming days are generally of mixed outcomes because of the manifest seesaw in prices in the world market last week.

It has to be noted that while there had been simmering tension in the Middle East that could have triggered price upticks, the downtrend in the inventory of the United States and the lingering forecast of economic growths slowdown had provided a counterweight to the geopolitical events.

As of Friday (July 26) trading, however, world oil prices have started rising anew – thus, it is worth noting how that will be sustained into next week as that could prompt new round of price hikes that will in turn be reflected at the Philippine pumps.

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