Finance ministry calls halt to fuel price hikes

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Vietnam's Ministry of Finance on Monday asked local fuel traders to halt price hikes until the end of June in an attempt to curb inflation.

Fuel companies need to monitor prices on the global market closely, take measures to cut costs and ensure sufficient supply for the local market, the ministry said in a document sent to local fuel traders.

If delayed price hikes have negative impacts on their business, the companies have to propose solutions to the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance, according to the document.

Since December 15 last year, the government has allowed fuel traders to raise pump prices automatically without seeking government consent if world prices rise by seven percent or more.

Fuel traders last month increased gasoline pump prices by VND590 per liter, saying they'd suffered losses due to higher import prices. It was the second hike this year.

Vietnam's top oil product importer and distributor Petrolimex last week said the firm was incurring a loss of VND526 on every liter of gasoline. It has also suffered losses on all other fuel products, including diesel and kerosene, the company said.

Petrolimex's announcement immediately raised public concerns about another increase in pump prices.

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