Gov’t To Meet Suppliers To Discuss Petrol Prices

Petroleum companies will meet today with Ministry of Finance officials to discuss lowering gasoline prices that over the past year have increased by about 30 percent, government officials said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday ordered the Ministry of Finance to discuss lowering petrol prices with the companies.

“I have noticed that the international price decreased 25 percent while the price in Cambodia has reduced only 10 percent,” Hun Sen said.

Hy Heng, Sokimex marketing manager, said Thursday that his company will determine how much it will reduce prices after the meeting.

Total Cambodge and Caltex Cambodia were selling regular gasoline at 5,600 and 5,300 riel per liter, respectively, one month ago and are now selling at 5,100 riel, company officials said.

At Total, the price of premium gasoline peaked at 5,750 riel in July and prices have tapered off since then, said Chung Ly, Total retail manager, who said the company is currently determining how much more they can cut prices.

“We cannot continue the high prices because the price of oil is dropping,” he said. “People complain so we have to lower the price.”

Total currently sells some of its gasoline at a loss because some of its current stock in Cambodia was bought four weeks ago, before prices had dropped, Chung Ly said. To sell the older stock at a profit would mean losing a competitive edge with consumers, he said.

An official at Caltex said she was too busy to comment Thursday about the meeting.

Gasoline prices jumped 32.5 percent and diesel prices jumped 69.47 percent from Aug 2007 to Aug 2008, according to the Consumer Price Index released by the Min­istry of Planning.

SRP Lawmaker Yim Sovann said that the government should at today’s meeting require petroleum companies to reduce the price of regular gasoline to 4,000 riel per liter.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said the government needs to give companies time to sell older stock. But, he said, it also must review consumer price reductions




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