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Gas prices at all-time high

Gasoline prices in Cambodia hit an all-time high on Friday, stoking fears of limited fuel reserves and increasing production costs at some of the Kingdom’s businesses.

The price of premium gasoline sold for US$1.40 per litre last week, surpassing the $1.38 per-litre prices during the global economic slump at the end of 2008, a PTT official said.

Importers and distributors blamed global security issues and Cambodia’s reliance on imported oil.

“It’s relevant to the hot situation in the Middle East and the banning of oil exports. It’s caused countries to stop gasoline distribution,” Bin May Mailia, a manager at Thailand’s PTT Plc operations in Cambodia, said yesterday.  “It will make our country deteriorate because we have no gasoline reserves.”

Fluctuation in the value of the US dollar also caused the price to rise, he added.

Prices have soared around the region and worldwide but should decrease as spending on fuel decreases, Deputy General Director of domestic oil distributor Sokimex Group Heu Heng said yesterday.

Gasoline jumped $0.04 on Friday and had maintained the record price at the time of writing.  The cost was a concern for the Kingdom’s industry.

Cheat Khemara, a senior official at the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, said the increasing prices had hit garment factories hard as many garment factories operated on gasoline-powered engines.

Keo Mom, owner of Ly Ly rice cracker company, said high prices on the some 10,000 litres of gas her business uses per day was decreasing profitability.

“It’s made the production cost high but the goods cannot be sold at high prices. It’s decreasing our revenues while we face higher expenses. It’s a big problem,” she said.

Ngy Tayi, secretary of state at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, said yesterday that he acknowledged the increase in price but the ministry had actively engaged oil and gasoline distributors on decreasing the price.

Government measures on the increasing price could only be enacted by Minister Keat Chhon, Ngi tayi added. Keat Chhon was not available for comment yesterday.

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