Pump prices have gone up again this week. — PHILIPPINE STAR/EDD GUMBAN

By Sheldeen Joy Talavera, Reporter

FUEL RETAILERS are implementing hefty pump price hikes today (Sept. 19), extending the streak of increases in diesel and kerosene to 11 straight weeks and gasoline for a 10th week in a row.

In separate advisories, oil companies said prices would jump by P2 per liter of gasoline, P2.50 per liter of diesel, and P2 per liter of kerosene.

Caltex, Inc. implemented price adjustments at 12 a.m. today, followed by Shell Pilipinas Corp. at 6 a.m., and Clean Fuel at 4:01 p.m.

From the second week of July to the third week of September, pump prices have gone up by P11.85 per liter for gasoline, P17.30 per liter for diesel, and P15.94 per liter for kerosene.

Department of Energy (DoE) Oil Industry Management Bureau Assistant Director Rodela I. Romero said that the oil price hike reflected developments in the international market.

“These are attributed to the tighter supply outlook due to Saudi and Russia’s voluntary production cuts, Libya’s supply disruption due to hurricane and OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) optimistic demand outlook and global oil inventory decline,” she said in a Viber message.

OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, have cut oil production by more than one million barrels a day since the start of July to limit supplies and drive prices higher.

Saudi Arabia and Russia have also extended voluntary production cuts until the end of the 2023.

“DoE ensures that whatever is the movement in the domestic pump prices is just reflective of the international oil market,” Ms. Romero said.

Michael L. Ricafort, chief economist at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., said in a Viber message that the latest spike in oil prices could lead to an uptick in September inflation.

“The series of fuel price hikes for more than 10 weeks already and a relatively bigger increase in diesel prices at more than P2 per liter for the latest week would lead to pick up in inflation for September 2023,” he said.

“Higher local fuel pump prices could lead to some pickup in the prices of affected goods and services in the economy, on top of the effects of higher local rice prices and higher vegetable prices after storm damage since the latter part of July 2023,” he added.

Headline inflation rose for the first time in seven months to 5.3% in August, faster than 4.7% seen in July, but slower than 6.3% recorded a year earlier.

This was mainly driven by the increases in food and fuel prices. In particular, transport inflation rose to 0.2% in August from the decrease of 4.7% in July.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez in a statement said that he suggested to oil companies that they look for ways to cut their profit margins to reduce fuel prices.

“If you are part of the solution, Congress will be very appreciative and supportive of you. But if you are part of the problem, we might have to undertake measures that would be unpalatable to you,” he said.

SAGIP Party-list Rep. Rodante D. Marcoleta also proposed to review the Oil Deregulation Law due to the lack of transparency in the pricing scheme of oil industry players.