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Fuel prices take slight dip

LOCAL oil companies cut pump prices as international prices declined on lower demand.

Petron lowered the prices of gasoline by 30 centavos per liter, diesel by 20 centavos and kerosene by 40 centavos starting 12:01 a.m. today (Tuesday).

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Shell implemented similar price cuts effective at 6 a.m. today.

Phoenix Petroleum reduced the prices of its gasoline by 30 centavos and diesel by 20 centavos also starting at 6 a.m. today.

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Other local firms are expected to make similar adjustments.

Since the start of the year, major fuel products have had a net increase, gasoline by P1.90 per liter and diesel by P3.50 a liter.

Department of Energy officials said lower global demand likely pulled down oil prices.

“In previous trading weeks, there was still hope on a price freeze via OPEC’s (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) curtailed production to defend prices,” Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada told a press briefing. “During the last trading week, demand came out low so even those that wanted to drive up prices could not keep the levels up.”

Monsada noted that some refineries that went on preventive maintenance have resumed operations. “They usually go on maintenance during the summer but they were expected to be back this month (May),” she said.

Around end-April, market sentiment cooled following failed talks between members of the OPEC and a handful of outsiders like Russia who are also major petroleum exporters. Prices, however, became volatile again since then.

Saudi Arabia and other leading oil exporters have expressed willingness to control output if other major exporters would do the same, but Iran, which has just been released from UN and US sanctions, has consistently said it would not cut production and would revive its former stature as a major oil exporter.

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