Petrol prices fall to lowest this year, diesel rates cut again

Petrol and diesel prices were lowered for the fourth straight day today, tracking a decline in global oil prices. In Delhi, petrol today retailed at Rs 69.86 a litre – its lowest this year – after rates were cut by 20 to 22 paise in top cities. In Kolkata, petrol retailed at Rs 71.96, in Mumbai Rs 75.48, in Chennai Rs 72.48 and in Bengaluru Rs 70.42. Similarly, in Delhi, diesel retailed at Rs 63.83 a litre, in Kolkata Rs 65.59, in Mumbai Rs 66.79, in Mumbai Rs 67.38 and in Bengaluru Rs 64.18, down 18 to 20 paise. So far in four days, the retail price of petrol and diesel are off 70 to 80 paise a litre in top cities.

The retail price of both petrol and diesel depend broadly on global crude oil price and rupee-dollar exchange rate as India imports three-fourth of its crude oil requirement. Besides that central and state level taxes and marketing margins determine the final price consumers pay at the pump.

Global oil prices have fallen sharply in recent months on rising supplies and concerns over a slowing global economy. International benchmark Brent crude fell below $53 a barrel last week, its lowest since September 2017. Brent is down nearly a third from its October highs. To ease supply worries, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies including Russia agreed earlier this month to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd). The cuts will take place from January. But concerns over global demand will weigh on oil prices, say analysts.

Back in India, petrol prices had hit a record high of Rs 84 per litre in Delhi and Rs 91.34 in Mumbai on October 4 when crude prices were hovering around $85 a barrel. Diesel had also peaked at an all-time high of Rs 75.45 a litre in Delhi and Rs 80.10 in Mumbai.

Since then, petrol and diesel prices have fallen sharply in India. Compared to October 4 highs, petrol prices are down about Rs 14 to Rs 16 a litre in top cities. Similarly, diesel prices are off Rs 12 to Rs 13.50 a litre.

India’s monthly crude oil imports in November marked their biggest year-on-year decline in nearly four years, according to data from the oil ministry. November crude oil imports slid 11.4% to 17.01 million tonnes.

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