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India defers hike in fuel prices as crude oil climbs over $50

By Ians English

New Delhi, Dec 16: State-run Indian Oil on Friday deferred the fortnightly revision of fuel prices without offering an explanation although during the preceeding fortnight, global crude oil prices shot up well over $50 a barrel following a landmark agreement between major oil producers to cut output.

Indian Oil Corp (IOC) Chairman B.Ashok told reporters here that "it is not compulsory" to change rates on a particular date.

India defers hike in fuel prices

"We continue to review it and will take appropriate decision at the right time. Price revision is being done in a calibrated manner," he said.

State-run oil marketers, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum revise rates on the 1st and 16th of every month based on the average international price in the previous fortnight.

Amid the fluctuation in global prices, rates were last revised on December 1, when petrol price was hiked by 13 paise a litre, while diesel rates were cut by 12 paise, both in Delhi, with corresponding changes in other states.

Petrol per litre currently costs Rs 66.10 in Delhi, Rs 68.81 in Kolkata, Rs 72.46 in Mumbai and Rs 65.58 in Chennai.

Similarly, diesel costs Rs 54.57 in Delhi, Rs 56.81 in Kolkata, Rs 60.17 in Mumbai and Rs 56.10 in Chennai.

At the previous revision on November 15, petrol was decreased by Rs 1.46 per litre and diesel by Rs 1.53 both at Delhi, excluding state levies.

With oil producers outside the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Russia, agreeing to reduce output by 558,000 barrels per day last week, The Indian basket of crude oils gained more than $3 a barrel over the weekend even as global prices surged to an 18-month high.

This came in the wake of the 13-nation OPEC cartel's November 30 decision to cut output by 1.2 million bpd for six months effective January 1.

It is the first time since 2001 that OPEC and some of its rivals reached a deal to jointly reduce output in order to tackle the global oil glut.

The Indian basket, comprising 73 percent sour-grade Dubai and Oman crudes, and the balance in sweet-grade Brent, closed trade on Thursday at $52.04 for a barrel of 159 litres.

As per latest OPEC data, its reference basket of 13 crude oils closed at $50.09 a barrel on Thursday.

IOC officials said in conditions of anonymity that though the latest surge in international prices have warranted a hike of around Rs 2 each on petrol and diesel, the general cash crunch post the November 8 demonetisation of high-value currency has led to Friday's price revision deferment.


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