After marginal changes on Monday and Tuesday, fuel prices remained unchanged for the second day on Thursday with petrol retailing at Rs 70.63 per litre and diesel at Rs 64.54 per litre in the national capital, respectively. In Mumbai, petrol and diesel were being sold at Rs 76.25 per litre and 67.55 per litre, respectively. In Chennai, petrol was retailing at Rs 73.29 per litre and diesel Rs 68.14 per litre. In Kolkata, petrol was sold at Rs 72.71 per litre and diesel at Rs 66.30 per litre. Petrol was retailing at Rs 71.48 a litre in Gurugram, while diesel at Rs 64.49 a litre. In Noida and Faridabad, petrol was being sold for Rs 70.45 a litre and Rs 71.69, respectively. While, diesel was retailing at Rs 63.88 a litre and Rs 64.71 in Noida and Faridabad, respectively.
With this, the price of petrol has now fallen back to its January 2018 rates while diesel is tracking the April 2018 prices. Although there was no change in fuel prices for two days, in the coming days, petrol, diesel prices are likely to witness a huge cut. In the last two days, crude oil prices have witnessed sharp correction on oversupply concerns and fear of weak global growth. On Wednesday, Brent crude futures were trading near $56.50 per barrel mark, down from $61-mark last week. The lowest that petrol had touched this calendar year was on January 1, when its price was 69.97 a litre in Delhi. The lowest for diesel was Rs 59.70 on the same date. Petrol’s decline has been faster than that of diesel because of a difference in benchmark rates.
It may be noted that the recent fall in the value of rupee against the US dollar has offset gains from the falling crude oil prices. The rupee has fallen over 3 per cent in the last few days. Worth mentioning here is that crude prices have fallen by over 30 per cent since early October when it was at $86 per barrel, making a forecast of $100 crude by January look true, and the rupee has also gained strength. The twin factors, therefore, have brought down retail fuel rates to two-month low. Retail fuel prices in India depend on both international oil price and the rupee-dollar exchange rate. Also, the pump price of petrol and diesel is dependent on the global rates of benchmark fuel and the rupee-US dollar exchange rate. Brent crude futures were around $61 per barrel mark on Friday after rising nearly 2 per cent on Thursday.
Fuel prices are retailing at the lowest level since the all-time high in October. Prices were slashed by almost Rs 14 wiping off the massive hikes in two months beginning August 16. Petrol in Delhi was priced at Rs 77.14 per litre and in Mumbai, it cost Rs 84.58 on August 15. Diesel on that day was priced at Rs 68.72 per litre in Delhi and at Rs 72.96 in Mumbai. Between August 16 and October 4, petrol price was hiked by Rs 6.86 per litre and diesel by Rs 6.73.
On October 4, the government decided to cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 1.50 per litre each and asked state-owned fuel retailers to subsidise the price by another Re 1 a litre by reducing their margins. Subsequent to this, the petrol price came down to Rs 81.50 per litre in Delhi and diesel to Rs 72.95 a litre on October 5. In Mumbai, rates fell to Rs 86.97 per litre for petrol and Rs 77.45 in case of diesel.
Before the price cut, petrol in Delhi had hit an all-time high of Rs 84 per litre while diesel was at record Rs 75.45. This came down to Rs 81.50 per litre for petrol and Rs 72.95 in case of diesel.