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Domestic fuel prices expected to stop 3rd straight week of fall

2018/02/23 14:48:41

Taipei, Feb. 23 (CNA) Domestic gasoline and diesel prices are expected to move higher next week in reflection of a rebound staged by international crude oil prices stopping a three-week decline, market sources said Friday.

An unexpected drop in crude oil inventories in the U.S. market, along with high hopes of an extension of a current production cut agreement between the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producers eased concerns over global supply and pushed crude oil prices higher, the sources said.

The state-run CPC Corp., Taiwan, is likely to raise its fuel prices by NT$0.3 (US$0.01) per liter for gasoline and NT$0.4 per liter for diesel, after cutting them this week by NT$0.6 and NT$0.7 per liter, respectively, the sources added.

The cuts have pushed down the benchmark of 95 octane unleaded to a three-month low.

Next week's new prices will be announced at noon Sunday and will take effect 12 hours later.

If CPC adjusts its fuel prices as forecast, prices at its pumps will rise to NT$24.0 per liter for super diesel, NT$26.1 per liter for 92 octane unleaded gasoline, NT$27.6 per liter for 95 octane unleaded and NT$29.6 per liter for 98 unleaded, the sources said.

Energy traders were happy with the fall in crude inventories in the U.S. market, with improved market sentiment boosting crude prices overnight, the sources said.

According to a report released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), crude stockpiles in the U.S. market fell 1.6 million barrels last week, defying an earlier market estimate of a 1.8 million barrel increase.

In addition, the global energy market has embraced hopes that the OPEC and non-OPEC members will extend the ongoing production reduction accord beyond the current deadline at the end of this year, which gave an additional boost to international crude oil prices, the sources said.

CPC calculates its weekly fuel prices based on a weighted oil price formula made up of 70 percent Dubai crude and 30 percent Brent crude.

Based on the slight fluctuations in international crude oil prices, CPC had calculated the average price of crude oil at US$62.65 per barrel as of Thursday, an increase of US$1.62 from a week earlier, according to its website.

(By Huang Ya-chuan and Frances Huang)