Petrol prices fall to lowest in 12 months, weeks after GST hike

Pump prices have fallen despite higher oil prices.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE — Petrol and diesel pump prices have slipped back down to levels seen before the latest goods and services tax (GST) increase on Jan 1 despite rising global oil prices.

The benchmark Brent crude last traded at US$86.56 (S$113.80) a barrel, its highest since mid-November 2022. Oil prices are expected to be on an uptrend in 2023 because of higher demand from China, which has all but lifted its Covid-19 restrictions.

Ironically, China is also seen to be exporting more refined products, which could depress the wholesale prices of diesel and petrol in Singapore.

According to market research firm S&P Global, the Chinese government has raised the export quota for its first batch of refined oil products for 2023 by 46 per cent.

According to Fuel Kaki — a pump price tracker set up by the Consumers Association of Singapore — Caltex, Shell and SPC lowered posted pump rates just before the Chinese New Year weekend, with cuts of between three cents and five cents a litre.

The adjustments have brought the prices of these brands more in line with pre-discount rates posted by the two other pump operators here — Esso and Sinopec.

Diesel is now $2.63 a litre at Sinopec and $2.64 elsewhere. For petrols, the 92-octane grade is now $2.65 a litre at Caltex, Esso and SPC — the only brands offering the grade. The popular 95-octane grade is $2.69 at SPC and $2.70 elsewhere.

The 98-octane fuel is $3.22 a litre at Shell and $3.17 elsewhere; and the so-called premium 98-octane grade is $3.39 at Caltex, $3.44 at Shell and $3.30 at Sinopec.

Price differences are greater after discounts. For 92-octane petrol, prices range from $2.17 a litre at Caltex (with OCBC 365 card) and Esso (DBS Esso card), to $2.28 at Esso (with Citibank Cash Back card and other OCBC cards).

For the 95-octane grade, prices range from $2.12 at Sinopec (with OCBC cards) to $2.32 a litre at Esso and Shell (various cards).

For 98-octane fuel, discounted rates range from $2.49 at Sinopec (OCBC cards) to $2.77 at Shell (various cards).

Pump operators raised prices almost immediately after the GST rate was increased by one percentage point to eight per cent on Jan 1. With the latest revision, pump prices are now back to their lowest since January 2022.

ALSO READ: Are COE prices set to fall? More Cat A and B COEs in the coming quarter

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.