Consumers will have to shell out heftier cash for their fuel budgets this week as the price of gasoline products increased by P1.25 per liter; and diesel prices by P0.90 per liter.

Kerosene, which is another commodity in the weekly price adjustments, had gone higher by P0.85 per liter, based on the cost movement advisory of the oil companies.

MB file photo. (Mark Balmores)

As of press time, the oil firms that already sent notices on their price hikes had been Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, Seaoil, Cleanfuel and PetroGazz effective Tuesday (March 16); while their competitor-firms are expected to go along with this week’s pricing trends.

Recent upswing in global oil prices had precipitated this new round of cost upticks at the Philippine pumps – an undeviating manifestation of the domestic oil market’s very heavy dependence on oil imports.

Several factors had exerted upward pressure on prices in last week’s trading in the world market – including supply tightening because of the falling inventory of the United States as well as geopolitical events in the Middle East.

The acceleration of Covid-19 vaccination program in the US, in particular, has been raising hopes of economic rebound for the biggest oil consumer of the world; and may also warrant its population’s return to normalcy by July.

In the Philippines, industry players are monitoring how the faster rate of Covid-19 infections will be affecting domestic fuel demand in the coming days and weeks; although there is a general perception that the country will no longer revert to strict lockdowns similar to the measures it adopted last year.

The local oil market practically nosedived last year, but the industry players are hoping that they can finally recover on sales volume as well as earnings this 2021.

On a global scale, there had been forecasts of overall “supply tightening” this year which will then consequently drive up oil prices throughout the duration of 2021.

But sense of optimism for economic recoveries in many parts of the world had been turning blurry recently, as some countries – like Italy and other European nations, are bracing for fresh wave of lockdowns because of the meteoric coronavirus infections triggered by the reported new variants.

There is an intensified call on most countries then to accelerate their respective Covid-19 inoculation programs because that is the only full-proof strategy that can finally end the world’s dilemma over the lingering pandemic.

Source: Manila Bulletin (