The retail price of regular-grade petrol decreased by 1.22 per cent on December 21, while the rate for diesel rose by 1.12, according to a notice issued by the Ministry of Commerce.

For the December 21-31 period, the retail selling prices of fuel in the Kingdom have been set at 4,050 riel or $0.98 per litre of regular EA92 (petrol with an octane rating of at least 92) and 4,500 riel or $1.09 per litre of 50ppm diesel (with sulphur content no more than 50 parts per million), said the notice, which contains values in both currencies.

Analysts have pinned the heightened diesel prices on the Kingdom’s reliance on imports, coupled with a global shift to the fuel for power generation, heating and other applications, prompted by soaring natural gas prices stemming from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The corresponding rates for December 11-20 were 4,100 riel ($0.99) and 4,450 riel ($1.08) per litre of regular EA92 and diesel, respectively, compared to 4,100 riel ($1.00) and 3,750 riel ($0.92) during the period ended December 31, 2021.

Compulsory for licensed filling stations – although usually not strictly enforced for street vendors and in other circumstances, the rates are issued every first, 11th and 21st of the month, computed using data extrapolated from fluctuations in crude prices on the international market, and a number of taxes and charges that may be adjusted based on feedback from meetings with local oil importers and other stakeholders.

The ministry notice shows that the current semi-monthly regular EA92 rate was computed by adding the $0.5234 average Means of Platts Singapore (MOPS) over December 12-20, $0.1716 in taxes and associated charges ($0.0847 in customs duty, $0.0200 in additional fees and $0.0669 in special fees) and $0.20 premium – summing up to about $0.895 – plus an extra 10 per cent surcharge on top of that for a total of $0.9844 which was then converted and adjusted to the final values.

Similarly, the diesel rate was formulated from a $0.7150 mean MOPS (over the same seven working days), $0.0595 in taxes and associated charges ($0.0000 in customs duty, $0.0400 in additional fees and $0.0195 in special fees) and $0.23 premium – tallying up to around $1.004 – with a 10 per cent fuel surcharge and one US cent discount from “the petroleum companies” for a sum of $1.0949, which was then converted and rounded to the current values.

The MOPS prices for petrol and diesel were down 1.0 per cent and up 1.7 per cent compared to the averages computed over the seven working days from December 1-9, at $0.5286 and $0.7030, respectively.

And as has been customary since May 21, the notice mentioned that the two current per-litre rates include a 6.5 US cent reduction greenlit by Prime Minister Hun Sen “to ease the people’s livelihoods”.