Friday , April 23 2021

Government pushes for lower gasoline price

11/23/2018 – In the Executive Branch began a discreet but tenacious negotiation with the oil companies. The objective is to achieve a 10% drop in fuel prices, at least in the premiums, in the month of December. So far this year, the highest octane gasoline rose 68%. At YPF stations in Buenos Aires, the liter of this product is $ 44.01, an amount that is higher in the suburban and in the interior.

"In December, there is an update of the carbon tax, but we believe that the oil companies have already reached the import parity price, against which the yield of local production is measured, and now they have to lower the amounts in 10%, at least in the (naphtha) premium ", detailed from the Rosada to Clarín. "The oil companies are turning to imports for (refining) premium. If the price of imports is what they take into account, it would be logical to lower them," characterized an official who asked not to be mentioned.

In the executive branch they maintain that they tolerated the rise of the international oil quotation, which reached up to US $ 85 in early October. But that has now changed the scenario and crude is declining in the area of ​​US $ 62 per barrel in the case of Brent, the variety considered in the country.

In the Executive Branch, they will raise these arguments with the YPF authorities, but they can also be brought to Axion and Shell, the other top players on the market. Anyway, the official conviction is that YPF has such a significant market leadership that it drags the rest of the market.

A week ago, when the increase in biofuels – which carved in the cost of gasoline and diesel fuel – was announced, the Ministry of Finance issued a statement. "The increases in biodiesel prices (…) will not have an impact on the pump. First, because the relative impact on fuel prices would be negligible: 0.2% for diesel and 0.3% in naphtha, "they said.

In the oil companies, they still do not comment on the position that the Executive will pose to them. They admit that export parity is close to or attained with current price levels in super naphtha, for example. However, they note that they did not recompence their income to the pace of devaluation.

The Brent oil price is down 14% in November. This week alone lost 6% and in the accumulated annual (ie against the same date of 2017), there is also a decline of 1.6%. In return, even though the peso depreciated, the dollar was selling at $ 17.70 a year ago, less than half now.

"Recent declines in the exchange rate and the price of oil have left the current amount of fuels above the border prices (import / export parities), which is why oil companies have no margin to increase the price , they should rather evaluate the possibility of reducing them again, "they warned from the Treasury a week ago.

Energy Secretary Javier Iguacel will hold these arguments in dialogues with the oil companies, according to official sources.

In October, the naphtha office fell 6% and that drop was more pronounced in premiums, where it was double-digit. In November, YPF increased prices by 2.5%, while Raizen (which runs the Shell brand) and Axion doubled and remarked between 5% and 7%. But they backed off in a brief lapse.

"The market showed a high sensitivity to prices these days," they characterized in the seasons. It is that Raizen and Axion undid their original increase and bound it, to stay in line with YPF. One Friday they had increased, and from Monday to Tuesday, they had already gone down.

The "migration" of customers from the brands (Shell, Axion) to the one that had applied a smaller increase (like YPF) was more noticeable than in other occasions, they observed among the companies. In one of the companies they accused a drop of 30% in the sales, of clients that went towards YPF.

The consumer reaction fueled the government's intention to ask the oil companies for a rebate. According to companies, this possibility is "complicated" in diesel, which is still lagging behind "import parity".

The data that the oil companies manage for November is of some stabilization in the sales. The October floor would have recovered. The rebound is tenuous, and is still more evident in the "super" fuels than in the premium.

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