Petrol imports totalled 6.5 million tonnes and reached a cost of US$5.9 billion in the first seven months of the year, accounting for 10.2 per cent of the nation's total imports, according to the General Department of Customs.
HA NOI —
The figure represents a decrease of 42 per cent in volume and 8.6 per cent in value, however, in comparison with the same period last year.
In July alone, Viet Nam imported about 533,500 tonnes of petrol, valued at $512 million – a decline of 39.2 per cent in volume and 37 per cent in value compared to the previous month.
Kuwait became a new petrol exporter to Viet Nam, shipping 393,600 tonnes during the month. Meanwhile, exports fell from traditional suppliers such as Malaysia, Russia and China.
Global crude oil prices have dropped significantly this month, with experts predicting the price would continue to decline as global traders anticipated another recession that would restrain demand.
Since the beginning of August, crude oil prices have dropped 9.93 per cent, while jet fuel prices have fallen by 1.68 per cent and diesel oil by 2 per cent, according to the Viet Nam National Petroleum Corporation (Petrolimex).
US-based Merrill Lynch has forecast that oil prices could fall to as low as $50 a barrel this year.
Petrolimex expected that the price it would pay for refined petroleum products on the Singapore market would decline with the world price. In the first half of August, the price of these commodities fell by 1.14-3.11 per cent. The decrease in the price of petrol and other refined petroleum products would continue to lag behind crude oil prices, expected to fall 5.8-9.9 per cent.
Petrolimex was looking to buy 31,000 tonnes of petrol RON 92 for shipment in the first week of next month. Last week, meanwhile, Petrolimex's representative in Singapore signed a long-term contract with Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation, under which the Vietnamese corporation would supply fuel oil to Bangladesh.
Nguyen Tien Thoa, director of the price management department under the Ministry of Finance, said there would be no immediate change in petrol prices.
"Viet Nam has not imported crude oil so changes in global crude oil prices won't affect local prices," Thoa said.
Earlier last week, the ministry announced that the computed average cost of petrol between July 12 and August 10 was higher than the existing domestic retail price by VND342 to VND530 per litre. Therefore, the ministries of Finance and of Industry and Trade decided jointly to leave retail petrol prices unchanged. Domestic petrol prices averaging VND21,300 per litre remained VND3,822 to VND13,056 lower than those in neighbouring countries like Laos, Cambodia, Singapore and China, Petrolimex said. — VNS