Petrol, diesel prices look set for large cuts - for now

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Despite the rand crashing to record low levels last week, fuel prices currently still look set for a cut at the start of June.

Based on the latest oil and rand prices, the latest data from the Central Energy Fund shows that diesel prices could be lowered by R1.06 to R1.13 a litre, depending on the grade. Petrol (both 95 and 93 unleaded) could be cut by around R1 a litre.

Illuminating paraffin currently looks set for a 62c a litre cut.

However, there is still some time to go before the final prices are set. Fuel prices will only be adjusted on 7 June.

"Nonetheless, we remain confident that significant decreases will be seen to fuel prices for June," the Automobile Association (AA) said in a statement.

So far this month, oil prices are down almost 5%. Bloomberg reports that oil is heading for a fifth straight monthly loss, which would be the worst run since 2017. 

The oil price has fallen from almost $80 per barrel a month ago to below $70 earlier this month amid concerns about the US and Chinese economic outlook. Markets are also on edge about the risk of a US default on debt due to a debt ceiling deadlock. The global crude benchmark is down about 5% in May.

At the start of April, petrol prices were hiked by 37c a litre, while diesel was cut by between 47.5c and 73.5c.

This brought the price of a litre of 95 unleaded petrol to R23.34 in Gauteng, compared to R21.84 a year before – and a record price of R26.74 in July last year.

The wholesale diesel price was increased to R20.15 a litre. As recently as in November last year, diesel cost close to R25.50.

"[The expected] decreases [for June] are positive and will ease pressure on our economy and on consumers. Of course, this is only one indicator, and we cannot ignore higher interest rates and food prices but a decrease to fuel costs will make a difference to many," the AA says.

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