Taipei, Sept. 14 (CNA) Taiwan's domestic gasoline and diesel prices are forecast to move higher next week for the fourth consecutive week to push up the price of the benchmark 95 octane unleaded to hit NT$31 (US$1.01) per liter, market sources said Friday.
Worries over escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, and a fall in crude inventories in the U.S. market prompted energy traders to bet on higher crude prices, which is expected to lead CPC Corp. Taiwan, the state-own gasoline supplier in the country, to raise fuel prices by NT$0.5 per liter, the sources said.
The state-owned company, which hiked its gasoline prices by NT$0.1 per liter and increased its diesel prices by NT$0.2 per liter this week, is scheduled to announce its prices for next week at noon on Sunday and put them into effect 12 hours later.
If CPC raises its fuel prices as forecast, prices at the pump will rise to NT$27.7 per liter for super diesel, NT$29.5 for 92 octane unleaded gasoline, NT$31 for 95 octane unleaded and NT$33 for 98 unleaded, the sources said. CPC calculates its fuel prices weekly.
International crude oil prices continued to move higher this week in the wake of sanctions imposed by the U.S. against Iran, one of the major oil producers in the Middle East, the sources said.
Under the tough sanctions, Washington has told its allies to reduce imports of crude produced by Iran, and several Asian buyers, including South Korea, Japan and India appear to be falling in line, the sources added.
A weekly report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), pointing to a fall in U.S. crude inventories, pushed up crude oil prices higher, the sources said.
According to the EIA, crude inventories in the U.S. market fell 5.3 million barrels to 396.2 million barrels in the week to Sept. 7, the lowest level since February 2015.
Due to the rise in international crude oil prices, CPC has calculated the average price of crude oil at US$77.02 per barrel this week, up from NT$76.06 per barrel a week earlier, according to its website.
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.
Formosa Petrochemical Corp., a private Taiwanese rival to CPC, is expected to announce a similar price hike on Sunday.