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Vietnam lowers diesel prices, gasoline stays unchanged   0000-00-00 - ThanhNien

Vietnam Tuesday cut diesel retail price amid declining world oil prices but left gasoline prices untouched, the Minister of Finance said Tuesday.



Diesel type 0.25S was reduced 3 percent to VND15,450 (US$0.93) per liter, while 0.05S diesel dropped to VND15,500 ($0.94 cents) a liter from VND15,950 ($0.97 cents). Gasoline and kerosene prices remained the same.

Crude oil and petroleum product prices in the world market this month have decreased by 5.7-9.8 percent from the average of previous months, Deputy Minister of Finance Tran Xuan Ha said at a meeting with local petroleum traders in Hanoi Tuesday.

However, the policy to maintain retail gasoline price aims to help importers recover losses incurred earlier this year when world oil prices were sky high.

Local petroleum importers said they had lost hundreds of million of dollars in the first six months of the year when world oil prices spiked.

At the current price of VND17,000 ($1.03) per liter for the popular 92-octane petrol, traders would enjoy a small profit of several hundred Vietnamese dong per liter, said Vuong Dinh Dung, director of the Military Petroleum Company.

Petroleum traders should not lower retail prices of petroleum products even if crude oil drops further in the next several months, Dung said, as they still have to make up for previous losses.

World oil prices dipped briefly beneath $90 a barrel Tuesday, according to AFP.

Deputy Minister Ha, meanwhile, told reporters on the meeting’s sideline if world crude oil continues to decrease, Vietnam would consider hiking import taxes on petroleum products to prevent product speculation and smuggling into its borders.

Vietnam, for now, will adjust retail prices of petroleum products according to changes in world market prices, Ha said.

Local petroleum traders will have to register selling prices with the Finance and Industry and Trade ministries. The Ministry of Finance has also decided to establish a petroleum price inspection group in charge of monitoring price adjustments set by local distributors.

Vietnam, Asia’s second-largest importer of petrol and diesel after Indonesia, had slashed retail gasoline prices by 5.6 percent on August 27, the second cut this year in a span of two weeks.

The country, while exporting crude oil, has to import refined oil products because it presently lacks refinement ability.

The $2.5 billion Dung Quat refinery, the first of its kind in Vietnam, is scheduled to commence operations in central Quang Ngai Province in February next year, with an annual production capacity of 6.5 million tons.xc`c

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