Price cut only if imports falls to $67/barrel: Deora

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New Delhi, Sept 16 (UNI) The government today said it will consider slahing fuel prices only if the average cost of the crude oil imports falls sharply to 67 dollars per barrel.

''We welcome the reduction in oil prices but still public-sector companies are losing money. The day when the prices fall to 67 dollars per barrel, it can be considered,'' Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora told reporters here.

US crude for October was down 3.41 dollars at 92.30 dollars a barrel by 0826 GMT. The market has fallen over 37 per cent from the record high of 147.27 dollars reached in July.

The government has, over the last two weeks, denied any plans of price cuts as crude prices softened globally.

Looking at the the upcoming General elections, industry analysts feel the government, which is battling high inflation, would be inclined to cut fuel prices.

Mr Deora said the fall of the Indian currency was partly offsetting the gains of cheaper crude as the rupee cost of oil was increasing.

The Indian rupee fell to its weakest level against the dollar since August 2006 yesterday, hit by concerns about capital outflows following upheaval on Wall Street and heavy dollar demand from oil firms and foreign banks.

Last week, Petroleum Secretary R S Pandey has said the quantum of oil bonds will be reduced if the prices fell further.

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