Skyrocketing cooking gas prices have started to come down in Phnom Penh as importers have increased the supply in the domestic market.
Cooking gas importers raised their prices in March because of, they said, supply shortages brought on by Thai restrictions on gas exports. Faced with a smaller supply, middlemen rapidly increased retail prices, with gas jumping from about $20 to $35 for a 15-kg tank in less than two weeks.
Chan Virak, Cambodia petroleum liquid gas manager for oil giant Total, said that as of Tuesday the price for a 15-kg container at his company’s filling stations was $25, but starting today the price will be lowered to $22. He added that the price is still higher than the $18 his company was charging in early March.
Chan Virak said that in the past few days, his company has imported more gas from Vietnam and that more gas from China will arrive in the middle of April.
“The gas price is declining now, and it will improve,” he said.
Khat Sarin, an assistant to Sokimex President Sok Kong, said Sokimex is already importing gas from China, which should lower prices.
Bun Tim, owner of Lina Loan Samai gas shop, had been charging as much $35 for 15 kg of gas Friday when he was forced to temporarily close his shop because of a lack of stock. Bun Tim said he will reopen today and sell gas at about $25 for 15 kg.
Ponleu Thmey, owner of Ponleu Thmey Gas Cooker and Gas Shop on Monivong Boulevard, said that last week he had to buy gas from other shops and then mark up the price to as high as $35 per 15 kg just to make a profit.
“Some customers complained about the price, but they still bought it,” he said, adding that Tuesday his prices were down to $25.