The Russian authorities are preparing a package of radical measures to cool the domestic gasoline market, where prices have skyrocketed at double-digit rates in wholesale and retail prices are growing 1.5 times faster than inflation.
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, who oversees the energy sector, held a meeting on the fuel market on Friday evening, where they discussed the possibility of concluding agreements with oil companies by analogy with 2018, the head of the Russian Fuel Union (RTS) Yevgeny Arkusha told Interfax.
In November 2018, the government, we recall, actually froze prices, banning oil companies and refineries from selling gasoline and diesel fuel at prices exceeding last year’s level by more than 3%.
As compensation, the oilmen received a damping mechanism – the budget had to pay them the difference between export prices and domestic prices, covering the lost profit for the fact that gasoline is sold cheaply in Russia, and not dearly abroad. This mechanism still works: for example, in March, oil workers received 16.6 billion rubles from the budget for the damper and another 46.9 billion through the reverse excise tax. But it is not possible to contain fuel inflation, which is embedded in the cost of all goods and services.
Over the six months, exchange prices for AI-92 jumped by 20.8%, and for AI-95 – by 27.5%, while retail prices grew only by 6% and 7%, respectively (according to the RTS).
“The entire retail business in the fuel market, independent or integrated, is at a loss. Measures are needed to reduce wholesale prices. The meeting was devoted to this issue, “- said Arkusha.
The press service of the government confirmed that Novak instructed to work out the mechanisms of “multilateral agreements with fuel companies to maintain a certain price level.”
Moreover, “freezing” is supposed for both the wholesale and retail markets.
In addition, the possibility of a complete ban on the export of gasoline is being considered. A softer measure is an increase in the standard of fuel sales on the exchange, which is now 11%.
According to the RTS, the approaching vacation period will lead to an even greater increase in demand for gasoline (from 10% to 20%), and if urgent measures are not taken, prices will continue to rise and there will be a threat of shortages.
According to Rosstat, from May 31 to June 6, 2021, average prices for AI-92 gasoline increased by 8 kopecks – up to 45.2 rubles. per liter. Gasoline AI-95 has risen in price by 13 kopecks. – up to 48.88 rubles. per liter, and the cost of AI-98 gasoline increased by 19 kopecks. – up to 55.63 rubles. per liter.
Since the beginning of the year, Ai-92 has become more expensive by 1.74 rubles, Ai-95 – by 1.64 rubles, Ai-98 – by 1.73 rubles.