Retail gasoline and diesel prices have been falling for eight weeks in a row. So far, gas station prices have been rising almost continuously since the end of 2020. On average, the decrease in retail prices for gasoline is small – 19 kopecks, for diesel fuel it is more significant – 50 kopecks. But after almost a year of growth in prices at gas stations, the trend is very positive. And importantly, according to IG “Petromarket” Senior Analyst Maria Arie, there is no reason for the price reversal to increase now.
The reasons for the drop in gasoline and diesel prices are the reduction in exports of petroleum products from Russia. Supply in the domestic market has seriously outstripped demand. Oil companies supplied the European market with half of all diesel produced in Russia, and up to 10% of all gasoline production went abroad. And now exporting to the West is difficult. And here the dynamics of wholesale fuel prices is very indicative.
Since the end of February, average wholesale prices from domestic oil refineries (refineries) for AI-92 and AI-95 gasoline have fallen 25% and 22%, respectively. This was the result of a surplus formed in the domestic market: stocks of gasoline in refineries and oil depots increased by almost 8% over the past month, exceeding 2 million tons, Arie notes.
Wholesale diesel fuel prices also decreased, although not as significantly, by 5%. But its supply in the domestic market grew much more than gasoline, as large volumes were shipped for export. Hence the sharp drop in retail prices.
The increase in fuel supply is not currently accompanied by adequate growth in domestic demand, explains the expert. Car owners are reducing car use from what might have been the norm in pre-crisis times, due to falling real incomes or the increasing risk of such declines in the future.
According to Arye, domestic demand is also negatively affected by emigration, job loss, forced “holidays” or the transition to remote work. In addition, the level of use of personal vehicles is declining due to the fear of owners of facing difficulties in car maintenance or repair due to the decision of many car brands to suspend their activities in Russia.
As a result, there are no prerequisites for the growth of retail gasoline prices, the expert believes. But the direction and pace of price changes at gas stations in the next two to three months will largely depend on the balance between supply and demand for the product on the Russian market. For example, if demand begins to grow due to an increase in domestic tourism, while maintaining the current level of production, retail prices may grow again, which, however, is unlikely to reach the current level of demand. inflation, said the expert. grades
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