Vietnam fuel prices expected to go down

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Fuel prices in Vietnam may be lowered as local traders are no longer suffering huge losses after a recent sharp fall in global oil prices, an official said.

Nguyen Tien Thoa, head of the Price Management Department at the Ministry of Finance, said the losses that fuel traders now incur are not as big as they reported.

With tax cuts and subsidies from a state fund reserved for stabilizing fuel prices, traders can break even when selling gasoline but they incur a small loss when selling oil, he said.

Thoa said if prices of imported products continue to decline, pump prices would be lowered, but noted that price cuts only happen after the government stops taking money from the state fund.

"We will continue to monitor the market closely and check the losses of traders, then necessary measures will be taken to adjust prices."

Oil dived on Thursday to near 10-month lows. New York crude fell as low as US$64.24, its lowest level since July 30, 2009, according to AFP.

Petrolimex, Vietnam's top oil product importer and distributor, said on Wednesday while the cost of crude oil declined, prices of fuel products imported from Singapore were still high. "Petrolimex is still posting losses and can't cut pump prices," Deputy General Director Vuong Thai Dung said.

Economist Le Dang Doanh said the national consumer association should check if it's necessary for fuel traders to cut prices. The association needs to monitor prices carefully, he added.

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