S'pore pump prices at record highs after killing

Petrol pump prices have risen by three cents a litre at most retailers in Singapore, in the latest fallout on oil markets from the assassination of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani by US forces last week.

A litre of petrol at major fuel retailers here costs $2.34 for 92-octane grade, $2.38 for 95-octane and $2.77 for 98. Diesel is $1.99 a litre.

Prices are at record highs now.

Caltex's 98 with Techron is $2.80, while Shell's V-Power is close to $3, at $2.94. All prices are before discounts. Caltex raised its prices yesterday while Shell did so on Monday. Esso has also adjusted its prices. SPC was the only major player to resist the latest hike, with its prices remaining unchanged as of yesterday afternoon.

Observers said that while the killing of Major-General Soleimani has made the market more volatile, crude prices had already been climbing before his death.

Fuelled by a thaw in the United States-China trade war and ongoing supply cuts from major oil producers, Brent crude ended last year at a four-month high of US$66 a barrel. Brent has since risen further, ending at US$68.91 on Monday.

The current volatility is also attributable to uncertainty over how Iran will respond to the killing. Many Iranian leaders have warned of reprisals.

Singapore oil industry consultant Ong Eng Tong reckons oil prices will rise as Iran is likely to retaliate, and that would in turn ignite US sanctions, which will drive oil prices higher.

The last time pump prices went up was just before Christmas, when rates moved up by three cents a litre. Compared with 18 months ago, pump prices have climbed seven cents.

Christopher Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2020, with the headline 'S'pore pump prices at record highs after killing'. Print Edition | Subscribe