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Price pump at petrol stations

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Petrol and diesel prices are displayed at a petrol station on Norodom Boulevard, Phnom Penh, yesterday. Prices have risen by 2 percent over the last week.

The price of premium petrol has risen by 2 percent over the last week at five major petrol stations in Phnom Penh, with industry players pointing to unrest Libya as a cause.

Data recorded by the Trade Promotion Department at the Commerce Ministry yesterday showed that a litre of gold petrol now sells at around 5,100 riel (US$1.26), up 2 percent from 5,000 riel a litre last week. At the beginning of the year, the price lay at around 4,300 riel per litre.

Regular petrol has increased 2.1 percent over the last week to 4,800 riel a litre.

The rises come after international oil prices soared, as concerns over the political chaos in oil-producing nations such as Libya mounted.

Riots from Morocco to Bahrain have already toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and there have been protests in Yemen, to the south of Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil producer. Fighting in Libya may have shut as much as 850,000 barrels a day of output, according to the International Energy Agency.

Manager at Thailand’s Petroleum PTT, Bin May Mialia, said yesterday that price rises at the capital’s pumps were an effect of the chaos.

“Countries in the Middle East, which hold 80 percent of petroleum distributed in the world market, are now facing a political downturn, so they don’t want to make exports,” he said.

“It will be very difficult to import from them. Vietnam also has difficulty importing. If we depend on our regional suppliers – Malaysia and Indonesia – it is not enough.”

Stephane Dio, managing director of Total in Cambodia, agreed that international prices had been affected by the ongoing unrest in Libya.

“As Cambodia has no refinery in operation and imports all of its oil products from other countries, pump prices in Cambodia reflect international oil products and the cost of bringing these products to Cambodia,” he wrote.

He said that while Total endeavoured to limit the impact of international oil prices increases on Cambodian customers, ongoing problems in the region around Libya could results in further pump increases.

“The complexity of world oil markets and the multitude of factors affecting it make it almost impossible even for seasoned experts to make a valid forecast,” said Stephane Dio.

“However, considering the current situation, one might assume that there will be further tensions on the oil product market in the near future, leading to higher prices.”

Brent crude for April settlement climbed 33 cents, or 0.3 percent, to US$112.13 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange yesterday morning. Prices ended February 11 percent higher. 

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