Diesel cheaper than bottled water as virus lockdowns disrupt consumption

Art Fuentes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 21 2020 12:32 PM

MANILA -- Diesel was cheaper than some bottled water brands in convenience stores on Tuesday as the month-long coronavirus lockdown kept millions at home and vehicles off the streets.

Overnight, US crude futures fell below $0 due to a supply glut that underscored how the pandemic put the global economy on a sure path to a recession.

Along Kalayaan Avenue in Quezon City, diesel retailed for as low as P26.60 on Tuesday morning. Other gas stations sold diesel at P27.65 per liter, P28.74, P28.99 with P31.54 as the most expensive. 

The average cost for 6 gas stations for diesel was P28.75 per liter. 

At one 7-Eleven branch, a 1-liter bottle of Nature's Spring Alkaline Water retailed for P30 while Wilkins Distilled Water sold for P32.

While the historic collapse in oil prices doesn't mean that gas stations are going to pay motorists to fill up their tanks, this signals a downward trend in pump prices, analysts said.

Falling prices will be "positive" for countries like the Philippines that import most of its fuel requirements, said ATR Asset Management head of equities Julian Tarrobago.

Lower fuel costs will also provide relief to companies that are under pressure to deliver earnings during the coronavirus lockdown, he told ANC.

"Because of the lack of demand currently, globally, we think oil prices will stay low and this benefits net oil importers such as the Philippines," he said.

Low oil prices are going to stay "for quite some time," said Caylum Trading Institute President Edmund Lee.

Consumer and telecommunications stocks are the safest picks at the moment, Lee told ANC. At current levels, the market is expecting a 25 to 30 percent drop in earnings per share, he told ANC.