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10.03.2009 Business & Finance

Fuel prices drop

By Daily Guide

A FEW day after the 2009 budget announced cuts in some petroleum taxes, fuel prices have gown down between 3 and 10 percent.

This also confirms CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE story last Friday that fuel prices were to go down by a slim margin.

Last week, Parliament amended two petroleum bills, the Customs and Excise (Petroleum Taxes and Petroleum Related) Levies Bill, 2009 and the Debt Recovery (Tema Oil Refinery Company) Fund Bill, 2009, so as to allow for the reduction in fuel prices.

In this regard, the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) announced new prices of fuel products taking effect from 6pm last night.

The proposed drops in fuel prices will be the first after prices were heavily slashed by 15 percent by the past government in December 2008 following drops in international market prices of crude.

According to information reaching CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE, petrol would go down from GHp82 to GHp78 whilst diesel would fall from GHp89 to GHp85.

Hence, a gallon of petrol will now sell at GH¢3.51 from GH¢3.69, representing a drop of 5 percent and diesel will go for GH¢3.89 from GH¢4.00 representing a 2.8 percent decrease.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is also expected to go down by about 10 percent, at least partially fulfilling President John Evans Atta Mills' pledge to reduce fuel prices when he ascends the Presidential throne. During the 2008 campaign, President Mills promised to reduce petrol drastically to GH¢2.

The reduction means Ghana could lose GH¢50 million as announced by Finance Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor.

Meanwhile, crude oil shot up above $46 a barrel yesterday.

Investors anticipated another Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production cut will shrink global supplies and further push prices up.

Benchmark crude for April delivery rose 61 cents to $46.13 a barrel by mid afternoon in Singapore on the New York Mercantile Exchange. While Brent Crude was selling at $45.13 on the ICE Futures exchange in London, WTI Crude was going for $48.43.

OPEC's record production cuts are draining the glut in world oil markets, leading traders to bet that $50 crude is two months away.

Most analysts expect OPEC to announce a cut of at least 500 000 barrels a day, though the cartel's biggest producer, Saudi Arabia, has not yet commented on the possibility of further output reductions.

Oil has traded near $40 a barrel since December after plummeting from $147 in July as crude demand fell amid the worst global recession in decades.

Inventories or low consumer demand  have been falling 1.4 million barrels a day since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reduced supplies 13 percent in September 2008, according to PVM Oil Associates Ltd., the world's biggest broker of energy trades between banks.

OPEC will limit exports again when the group meets on Sunday March 15.

By Charles Nixon Yeboah