Nafta increased 13% so far in 2019 and increases are already expected for June


Between the last day of April and the first of May, the three major oil companies in the refining and fuel market increased for the fourth time in the year the prices of gasoline and diesel.

In less than 24 hours, Axion first, then YPF and finally Raízen, which operates the Shell brand, announced increases of between 3.9% and 6% in suppliers.

On the other hand, Puma Energy, the brand with which Trafigura renamed Petrobras gas stations, announced a 6% increase on Tuesday afternoon, in line with Axion.

A few days after launching the Essential Prices, the program by which the government seeks to contain the impact of inflation in the middle and lower sectors, this increase in prices increases the logistics costs of companies.

How he advanced exclusively The chronicler, the Secretary of Energy, Gustavo Lopetegui, ruled out the fuel price freeze.

In that sense, YPF, with the increase applied since 7 on Tuesday, showed that there is a freeze, although its increase is below the increase of its costs.

Taking into account the values ​​for the retail public of the state YPF in the City of Buenos Aires, where normally the cheapest ones are obtained in the country (excluding Patagonia, with a particular tax regime), with this new increase, the accumulated of the first four months of 2019 yield 12.9% for super naphtha, which went from US $ 37.21 per liter to US $ 42.01.

Likewise, the accumulated increase in the first quarter was 11.8% in premium naphtha (from US $ 43.35 to US $ 48.47); 13.8% in common diesel fuel (from US $ 34.84 to US $ 39.65); and 13.5% in the euro diesel (premium gas oil, from US $ 40.86 to US $ 46.40).

This fourth price increase in the year is the fifth readjustment of 2019, since in January there was a fall of 0.6% in the federal capital, which was up to 3.2% in some regions of the country.

So far this year, the major components that drive fuel prices have risen.

  • Brent crude, which is traded in the future in London, and is the benchmark for the Argentine market, rose 33% from $ 54 a barrel to $ 72.
  • The exchange rate, in turn, jumped 17%, from $ 38.60 to $ 45.20.

At the same time, biofuels experienced very limited increases, which endangered the financial stability and sources of labor of soybean processors and sugar mills.

  • Bioethanol from sugarcane increased by only 2.6%;
  • The maize product, 7.2%;
  • And biodiesel, 7%.

This is how the closure of the Viluco soybean processing plant (managed by the Lucci Group) in Santiago del Estero has been known in recent weeks.

Even with this price adjustment, the oil companies regret that they are behind the 10% delay.

Last week, ahead of the dollar episode that raised the dollar to $ 47 in the retail segment, the CEO of a refinery estimated that it was still necessary to increase about 14 percent.

In this sense, the decision announced on Monday by the Central Bank of Argentina (BCRA) to sell the reserves when it deems appropriate, even within the Non-Intervention Zone (ZNI), collaborated to decompress the exchange rate and press High in fuels .

In addition, the withdrawal of oil, days after US President Donald Trump imposed more sanctions on Iran, prevented a situation of stronger growth in Argentina.

YPF and Axion, because they are integrated oil companies (they have operations in Argentina both Upstream – exploration and production, Axion is Pan American Energy Group, PAE – and Downstream – refinement and commercialization), suffer less delays than the rest of their companies. such as Raízen and Puma Energy.

Its losses from downstream operations, which estimated sector sources of about $ 500 million last year, can be offset in some way by Upstream.

On the other hand, Raízen and Puma Energy are expected to buy oil from other producers, such as Shell, Vista Oil & Gas, Sinopec, Pluspetrol, Tecpetrol and Chevron, among others, in negotiations with certain ristupeces.

Since the beginning of a sharp peso devaluation in April last year, oil imports have been completed (they are at 0 since May), these refineries are supplied with crude oil in the domestic market or import directly fuels already processed abroad.

And although Argentina exports only heavy oil (Escalante type, which produces PAE in the Gulf of São Jorge), the refineries apply an export parity scheme (export parity) that subtracts the retention of local purchases.

This is how they roused the lamentation of non-integrated producers, who should sell their product at a lower price and still can not export light crude (Medanito type, from the Neuquén Basin) until authorized by the Secretary of Energy. It is estimated that the classification will arrive for the second semester.

In June, on the other hand, there will be a further increase in taxes that will impact the price of fuels.

Due to the 11.8% inflation accumulated in the first quarter of the year, this means an increase of $ 1.04 per liter in gasoline and $ 0.65 in diesel. In percentage, it represents, if the other variables (oil, dollar and biofuels) were stable, another increase of 2.5% more for super naphtha.

Based on data provided by Energy and updated this week, the Confederation of Hydrocarbons and Allied Entities of Commerce of the Argentine Republic (Cecha) analyzed that "fuel demand fell 3.28% in March".

"In this way, there has been a 7 consecutive months of retraction in gasoline sales, since last September began to have a drop in consumption motivated, mainly, by the collapse of premium fuels," they added.

By type of fuel, consumption in March had these variations:

  • Gas oil + 1%
  • Diesel premium -10,13%
  • Super naphtha + 5.89%
  • Naphtha prize -23.78%

"The migration of the demand for products of lower price and quality is the way the public sustain consumption as opposed to the adjustment of its budget, in this line, an important fact of the month of March is the depth of the retraction in the market." consumption of premium diesel, which for the first time exceeds 10%, "said Cecha.

Asked by this newspaper about the impact on inflation in May, two economists showed different versions.

Matías Rajnerman, chief economist at Ecolatina, said: "The direct impact is limited, it would not be greater than 0.1%."

"Yes, there is a greater effect of the second shift, because fuels are a gateway to almost all of the productive apparatus, but it is not possible to determine precisely how much it is in this context of high inflation," he added.

At Ecolatina, they are already seeing domestic inflation of 3.2% for May in a stable dollar scenario, "which is more likely after the BCRA measures."

On the other hand, Juan Ignacio Paolicchi, an analyst at EcoGo, estimated that fuels will add 0.3 percentage points to inflation in May, and that the remaining monitored prices (prepaid, electricity for non-residential users and the second portion of the increase gas) will total 1.1%.

In this way, inflation in May already is estimated close to 4%.


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