The government has increased retail fuel prices for the third bimonthly period in a row – a trend that has dampened some of the consumer enthusiasm that greeted a moderation in November-December.
Cambodian economists have blamed the hike in local rates – which are tied to global oil prices that have logged a sharp upswing into the new year – on stronger fuel demand in the international manufacturing market and supply disruptions in connection with the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis.
The retail selling price of fuel in the Kingdom from February 1-15 has been set at 4,500 riel or $1.11 per litre of regular EA92 – petrol with an octane rating of at least 92 – and 4,250 riel or $1.05 per litre of diesel, the Ministry of Commerce said in a notice that contains values in both currencies.
The corresponding rates for January 16-31 were 4,350 riel ($1.07) and 4,050 riel ($0.99) per litre of regular EA92 and diesel, respectively, up from 4,200 riel ($1.03) and 3,800 riel ($0.94) in January 1-15.
They had been set at 4,100 riel ($1.00) and 3,750 riel ($0.92) for December 16-31, bottoming out at 9.89 and 8.54 per cent lower – in terms of the local currency – than a peak of 4,550 riel ($1.11) and 4,100 riel ($1.01) in November 1-15.
Compulsory for licensed filling stations – although usually not strictly enforced 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.
In the global oil commodity trade, Brent futures had dipped $1.31 or 1.46 per cent to $88.16 a barrel at 1047 GMT on February 3, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude had fallen $1.40 or 1.59 per cent to $86.86, according to Investing.com.
Both Brent and WTI reached their highest levels since 2014 over the past week, respectively at $91.70 (on January 28) and $89.72 (on February 2) a barrel, data from the financial markets platform indicate.
The ministry notice shows that the current semi-monthly regular EA92 rate was calculated by adding the $0.6241 average Means of Platts Singapore (MOPS) over January 17-31, $0.1847 in taxes and associated charges ($0.0635 in customs duty, $0.0200 in additional fees and $0.1013 in special fees) and $0.20 premium – summing up to about $1.009 – plus an extra 10 per cent surcharge on top of that for a total of $1.1096 or 4,512 riel, which were then adjusted to their final values.
Similarly, the diesel rate was computed from a $0.6484 mean MOPS (over the same 11 working days), $0.0742 in taxes and associated charges ($0.0000 in customs duty, $0.0400 in additional fees and $0.0342 in special fees) and $0.23 premium – tallying up to around $0.953 – with a 10 per cent fuel surcharge for a sum of $1.0479 or 4,261 riel, which were then rounded to their current values.
And as has been customary since 2018, the notice mentioned that the two current per-litre rates include a $0.04 reduction approved by Prime Minister Hun Sen “to ease the people’s livelihoods”.