Amid new fears of demand slump for oil commodities, prices of gasoline products at Philippine pumps will be on P1.20 per liter rollback this week; while diesel prices will be reduced by P1.30 per liter.

The country’s oil companies also announced price cuts of P1.40 per liter for kerosene products, which is another fuel commodity essential for households and industries.

As of press time, the industry players that already announced price rollbacks had been Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, Seaoil, Cleanfuel and PetroGazz effective Tuesday (March 30); while most of their competitors are anticipated to follow.

Over the weekend, it has been independent player Unioil Petroleum Philippines Inc. that jumpstarted this round of price cuts – also with a rollback of P1.20 per liter for gasoline and P1.30 per liter for diesel effective 6:00am on Sunday (March 28).

Unioil similarly advised that aside from the downward price adjustments enforced, it would be extending fuel discount to all frontliners and essential workers from March 25, 2021 until April 4, 2021.

“Health workers, Philippine National Police (PNP) and military personnel, local government units, logistics companies, third party food delivery services get P2.50 off per liter on Euro 5 gasoline 91, gasoline 95 and 97 at participating Unioil stations,” the oil company has stated in its announcement through the media.

It instructed these relevant frontliners to just present their identified cards (IDs) or licenses issued by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to avail of the offered discount.

Prior to this week’s costs downswing, the Department of Energy (DOE) calculated that pump prices in the Philippines were still on a net increase — if reckoned from the start of the year – with gasoline logging an aggregate hike of P7.35 per liter; diesel had been higher by P5.90 liter; and kerosene posting a net increase of P4.90 per liter.

But while prices had gone lower this week, market watchers are predicting a reverse scenario next week, as the ship blockage incident at the Suez Canal in Egypt already started exerting pressure on prices on end of trading days last week.

If the ship couldn’t be refloated as earlier targeted, it might continue to trigger price escalations in this week’s trading in oil markets.

It remains to be seen how that geopolitical incident could influence oil pricing as against other world developments such as the rising Covid-19 infections, primarily in many European countries; the forthcoming meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) this April 1; and the scheduled refinery maintenance shutdowns of many refineries in Asia.

Source: Manila Bulletin (