DOE sees big-time oil price rollback next week

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 16) — Filipino motorists will soon experience relief after crude oil prices fell this week.

The Department of Energy's Oil Industry Management Bureau (OIMB) told CNN Philippines' New Day on Wednesday that some events across the globe have caused the dip in crude oil prices, particularly COVID-19 surge in China and  some countries and Ukraine veering away from its plan to be a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

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"The price of crude oil is actually very volatile, but it kept on increasing because of the sustained pronouncement from UK, US, European Union (on) sanctions against Russia," OIMB Director Rino Abad said.

"But recently there was a statement from Ukrainian President (Volodymyr Zelenskyy) that they're not interested anymore in joining NATO, (prompting) Russia to respond that they're now willing to sit down with Ukraine and US for talks," he said.

"(This was) coupled with recent surges of COVID-19 in Singapore, but notable in China which imposed a massive lockdown. Those are the two main (drivers) this week in the recent report that immediately provided us reasons why the crude oil prices immediately went down from a day's transaction, last week versus yesterday morning," he added.

Abad said the OIMB could not give exact figures yet, but Monday's trading will likely reflect starting next Tuesday "a massive rollback (that) would wipe out the entire increase we experienced this week."

Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a televised Cabinet meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte which aired on Wednesday that gasoline prices could decrease by at least ₱5, while diesel could decrease by ₱12.

Caltex, Cleanfuel, Petron, Total and Unioil's prices of diesel and gasoline recently increased by ₱13.15 and ₱7.10 per liter, respectively. Caltex and Petron also raised kerosene prices by ₱10.50/l this week.

Some public transport drivers are still waiting to receive the promised ₱6,500 fuel subsidy by the government, which they claim would hardly last a week. Others are already considering selling meat and vegetables as a new source of livelihood amid zero earnings.

READ: ₱6.5K aid not enough: PUV drivers eye selling goods to augment income amid rising oil prices