SOUTH AFRICA – motorists can expect another month of mixed price changes at the pumps, with some prices going up, others going down, and some remaining flat.
According to the latest mid-month data from the Central Energy Fund (CEF), petrol prices are expected to increase for 95 grade and again drop for 93 grade.
Petrol 95 is expected to increase by 10 cents per litre, while petrol 93 is currently showing a decrease of 5 cents per litre.
Diesel, meanwhile, is reaming fairly flat, with an expected drop of between 0-2 cents per litre for 0.05% sulphur content and 0.005% sulphur content, respectively.
Illuminating paraffin is expected to see a drop of 3 cents per litre.
The price changes reflect the flattening out of both the USD/ZAR exchange rate month-to-date, as well as the relative stabilisation of international oil prices, despite reported incidents of attacks on oil-producing countries in the middle east.
The South African rand has fluctuated in October so far against the dollar, driven largely by international trade policies and moves in developed markets.
However, on average, the currency is weaker against the dollar than in September, contributing negatively towards fuel prices.
The currency hit a peak of R15.39 early in the month as weak US manufacturing data renewed global downturn fears and highlighted the effects of a trade war between the US and China.
However, by the start of this week, the currency had recovered to as low as R14.73 to the dollar, on the back of hopes that a trade deal between the two nations could be reached.
Despite these sharp fluctuations, the averaged-out exchange rate to mid-month has been flat, the CEF’s data shows.
In terms of international petroleum prices, these, too, have been relatively flat since the start of the month.
The basket hit a peak at the end of last week (Friday 11 October) but has since dropped. International oil prices have hovered around the $60 a barrel mark since the middle of September, seemingly unaffected by some instability in some Middle Eastern countries.
On average, international petroleum prices have been lower than in September, contributing positively towards local fuel prices.
According to Reuters, oil prices are currently also fluctuating at the whims of the ongoing trade war between the US and China, with weak data out of China feeding worries around the top crude oil importer’s energy demand growth.
Chinese customs data showed that imports had contracted for a fifth straight month, while the US-China trade dispute continues to cast a shadow on the global economy, leaving unanswered questions over future oil demand, Reuters said.
“Taken all together that was enough to outweigh any support oil prices might have received from geopolitical tensions in the Middle East,” it said.
The table below outlines the expected prices for November: