Jaipal hints at no fuel price hike

New Delhi: Petroleum Minister S Jaipal Reddy today hinted that the government will not rush into raising retail fuel prices just yet, even though a falling rupee has increased cost of oil imports. "Depreciation of rupee has naturally created unprecedented problems. This will lead to under recoveries (revenue loss) of more than Rs 1,32,000 crore (in FY 2011)," he said in the Parliament House.

"Having said that, we are waiting for the situation to evolve. International market is volatile, both in regard to the price of oil and in regard to the position of rupee. Therefore, we would like to wait and watch before I can take a view," he said.

Rupee had on Wednesday closed at its all-time low of 52.35 against the US dollar. The Indian currency has devalued from 45.58 to a dollar during past few months, making imports costlier. India meets 79 per cent of its oil needs through imports.

State-owned oil firms had earlier this month raised petrol price by Rs 1.80 a litre as rupee weakened, but cut rates by Rs 2.22 a litre from November 16 after fall in global oil rates.
They now lose a whopping Rs 10.17 a liter on diesel, but Reddy said no meeting of a high-powered ministerial panel has been called for to decide on revising rates.

"No decision has been taken to convene the meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers (headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee) to look at the prices of such sensitive products as LPG, kerosene and diesel," he said. Oil firms lose Rs 25.66 per litre on kerosene and Rs 260.50 per domestic LPG cylinder.