Vietnam may cut fuel prices for second time within a month

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The Ministry of Finance is considering lowering fuel prices for the second time in a month after global oil prices continued to fall, local media reported Sunday.

The ministry's Price Control Department is following world prices closely to come up with a decision, according to a Tuoi Tre newspaper report. It said that with import tariffs on fuel products still at low levels, officials may lower retail prices and increase taxes at the same time.

Vietnam lowered gasoline and diesel prices on May 9, a long-anticipated move following a decline in global oil prices. The price of 92-RON gasoline was cut to VND23,300 (US$1.12) per liter from 23,800.

The price cut was met with widespread public displeasure, with many consumers and economists saying it was too late and too little to make an impact. Fuel prices had been increased twice earlier, in March and April.

Officials said they could only go with a small cut because it was necessary to reinstate import duties. The import tax rate on gasoline and diesel is now 2 percent, compared to zero previously.

Tuoi Tre cited a fuel trader as saying the company is earning a profit of around VND1,000 per liter because prices of imported fuel products have fallen by 5 to 7 percent in the past 15 days.

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