Retail petrol prices in Cambodia have been steadily rising since the beginning of 2021, with experts saying that widening Covid-19 vaccination rollouts have led to a sharp, sustained rise in international crude oil prices.
The retail selling price of petrol in the Kingdom from June 16-30 has been set at 3,900 riel ($0.95) per litre of regular EA92 – with an octane rating of at least 92 – and 3,550 riel per litre of diesel, according to an announcement from the Ministry of Commerce.
Compulsory for licensed petrol service stations but not for street vendors, the pricing serves as a tool to facilitate and enhance cost control nationwide and is calculated semi-monthly by the ministry using data extrapolated from fluctuations in crude oil prices on the international market.
Following a meeting with some of the Kingdom’s fuel distributors, the government agreed to reduce this fortnightly pricing by 0.4 US cents per litre to safeguard people’s livelihoods, the ministry said.
Petrol prices have been trending higher since the start of this year, with EA92 pinned at 3,200 riel, 3,350 riel, 3,400 riel and 3,500 riel per litre for each of the four bi-weekly periods to February 28, and diesel pegged at 2,950 riel, 3,000 riel, 3,050 riel and 3,200 riel for the corresponding intervals.
During the first April period, the rates for EA92 and diesel were 3,700 riel and 3,550 riel, respectively, according to the announcement.
Nhim Kosol, business manager of derivatives broker Golden FX Link Capital Co Ltd, explained that oil demand is expected to recover as more people are inoculated against the novel coronavirus, and that members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) plan to increase production to meet the surge of orders.
He told The Post: “Investors in the oil sector expect oil demand to recover, so they will stockpile oil. The rise in domestic oil prices is related to international rates … soaring to $70 a barrel now. Usually importers buy high-priced oil, so they can’t sell it to us at the original price.”
From June 1-15, the international per-barrel retail price of EA92 and diesel averaged $77.20 and $77.84, respectively, according to the ministry.
Moeung Sopheak, owner of a Tela filling station in Kampong Chhnang province, said he sells fuel below the prices set by the ministry, as an approach for “more customers, even at less profit”.
He noted that the current per-litre rates at the station are 3,800 riel, 3,200 riel and 4,100 riel for EA92, diesel and 95-octane-rated Super petrol, respectively.
Brent crude oil futures dipped 41 US cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $73.98 a barrel at 0400 GMT, while US crude futures receded 39 US cents, or 0.5 per cent to $71.76 a barrel, Reuters reported on June 17.
The General Department of Customs and Excise’s (GDCE) revenue collection plummeted 15.2 per cent to $614.8 million in the first quarter of this year compared to the corresponding period last year.
Petroleum and energy – including regular and super petrol, diesel and lubricants – accounted for 22.8 per cent of total revenue, according to the GDCE.