Even as global oil prices extended their gains for a third straight day on Thursday, local fuel retailers did not hike petrol, diesel prices. Thursday’s prices, which came into effect from 6 am, were kept unchanged for the second day in a row, according to data from Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). Petrol was being sold in Delhi at the rate of Rs. 76.23/ per litre, in Kolkata at Rs. 79.10, in Mumbai at Rs. 83.68, and in Chennai at Rs. 79.18. Diesel was being sold in Delhi at the rate of Rs. 67.79, in Kolkata at Rs. 70.48, in Mumbai at Rs. 71.97, and in Chennai at Rs. 71.59.
Among the top four cities, petrol, diesel rates were the cheapest in national capital Delhi and the costliest in financial capital Mumbai.Read more ↓
Meanwhile, rupee, which also affects petrol, diesel rates closed at a fresh one-week high of 68.79 against the US dollar on Wednesday, according to a report from news agency Press Trust of India. Reversing its two-day fall, the rupee rebounded by 15 paise. The upbeat trend was supported by unwinding of long dollar positions by speculators and local banks in view of subdued overseas cues.
Brent crude, however, led international oil prices higher after Saudi Arabia suspended crude shipments through a strategic Red Sea shipping lane and as data showed that US inventories fell to a 3-1/2 year low. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 22 cents at $69.52 a barrel, after climbing more than 1 per cent in the previous session, stated a report by news agency Reuters.
Petrol and diesel are the biggest items on India’s import bill. Thus, they affect inflation. According to a Reuters survey, retail inflation would average 4.9 per cent in the year ending March 2019, up from 4.7 per cent predicted just three months ago. Inflation has been above the RBI’s medium-term target of 4 per cent for eight months and is expected to stay that way through to the end of 2019.
The central bank will release its third bi-monthly policy statement for 2018-19 on August 1.
Thirty-seven of 63 economists polled by Reuters said the RBI will raise rates again in August and 22 respondents said the next rate hike would come by end-2018 or in the January-March quarter next year. In the last meeting in June, RBI had hiked key lending rate to 6.25 per cent after over four years. (With agencies inputs)