Continuous oil price rollbacks not certain, say experts

Raffy Cabristante, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 22 2022 01:41 AM

MANILA—Yet another massive oil price rollback may or may not continue in the coming days, because the global oil price market is “very volatile,” experts said.

Regina Capital managing director Luis Limlingan, in an interview on “TV Patrol” on Monday, said the current geopolitical scene is a factor.

Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) economist Jun Neri, meanwhile, said oil prices will remain expensive as long as there is no ceasefire and de-escalation between Russia and Ukraine.

In a Laging Handa public briefing on Monday, Energy Undersecretary Gerardo Erquiza said that aside from the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, other factors are behind the volatility of oil prices.

He noted that the current COVID-19 surge in China, as well as the recent magnitude 7.4 earthquake in Japan, may have also had a hand in the major oil price rollback.

“Ang China, nag-worsen ‘yung pandemic at nagkaroon ng mga lockdowns. So ‘yung mga economic activities sa China, medyo bumaba … Sa Japan, nagka-earthquake, tumakbo ‘yung dalawang refinery doon,” Erquiza said.

[The pandemic worsened in China which resulted in new lockdowns. So economic activity weakened in China. There was an earthquake in Japan, the 2 refineries there are now running.]

“Naging maganda nga last week, although ‘yung balita natin, medyo wala pong nangyayari, so we do not know how this will affect now this coming week, ‘yung presyo ng krudo,” he added.

[Things were OK last week, but now we were told nothing much has happened, so we do not know how this will affect oil prices this coming week.]

But Erquiza clarified that because of oil deregulation in the country, the Department of Energy (DOE) cannot predict the movement of oil prices.

“Ang pwede naming gawin ho is talagang i-monitor po ang implementation na ito [oil price adjustment], at hiligan ng isang amendment sa batas na unbundling po ng presyo… gusto naming makita kung bakit ganoon ang presyo," Erquiz added.

[What we can do now is to monitor the implementation of oil price adjustments, and to call for an amendment in the law to unbundle oil prices. We want to see the reasons behind oil price movements.]

Last Tuesday, the House Committee on Energy on Tuesday approved a bill to amend the oil deregulation law, with the approved measure seeking to “unbundle” the price oil.

Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo earlier said that with unbundling, there will be transparency among oil companies whenever they adjust their prices.

Several firms have announced a major oil price rollback to be implemented on Tuesday, the first in 2022, lowering rates of diesel by P11.45 per liter, gasoline by P5.45 per liter, and kerosene by P8.55 per liter.

— with report from Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

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