Fuel prices go up

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HARARE – Zimbabwe’s fuel prices increased marginally over the weekend by an average of $0,04 after going down by at least $0,10 in May.

Petrol’s price, which had increased to as much as $1,60 per litre, following the hike of excise duty on the commodity in March, went down to an average of $1,48 per litre around May and shot up to a maximum price of as much as $1,53 per litre.

Diesel which had eased to $1,34 per litre from around $1,42 is now selling at an average of $1,38 per litre.

A snap survey by businessdaily in Harare’s central business district revealed that most filling stations increased fuel prices during the weekend although a few have not yet pushed prices upwards.

E85 blend which contains 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent unleaded petrol is currently selling at an affordable $1,10 per litre.

Experts contend that the blended petrol — suitable for flexible vehicles —  anticipated to bring down local fuel prices will also help the country reduce its import bill.

However, local motorists have always been sceptical about the product.

Economist Kipson Gundani said as a non-oil producing country, the effects of price increases from oil supplying countries on the international market will negatively impact on local fuel prices.

“Another issue is about demand and supply constraints. If fuel ?inflows in the country are decreasing it can spark a general fuel price hike across the board.

This means that a small increase in fuel prices will adversely impact on general prices because it is a universal component in the functionality of any economy,” said Gundani.

He also added that uncertainty obtaining as a result of impending elections could also have an effect on local fuel suppliers.

This comes as Zimbabwe’s ?import costs from South Africa (SA) — its biggest trading partner — are expected to sharply increase, as a result of incessant fuel price hikes in that country, economic analysts say.

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