Ex­pert: Fixed fuel prices a boon

‘With­out peg­ging, mo­torists would have had to pay up to 18 sen more’

The Star Malaysia - - Nation - By ARNOLD LOH arnold.loh@thes­tar.com.my

GE­ORGE TOWN: Fuel prices would be 12 to 18 sen more than now if the Pakatan Hara­pan Gov­ern­ment had not main­tained the pre­sent prices, says an ex­pert.

RON95 petrol this week was sup­posed to be RM2.386, RON97 RM2.59 and diesel RM2.363, said a fi­nan­cial ex­pert, who asked to be iden­ti­fied only by his blog­ging nick­name DataA­n­a­lyst.

“If you can pre­dict the changes in fuel prices, you may be able to save enough for a few teh tarik every week.

“I’m try­ing to help you score that ex­tra teh tarik here,” he told read­ers on his blog Petrol Sta­tion.

For two years, he has been pro­vid­ing the pub­lic with un­can­nily ac­cu­rate pre­dic­tions of what fuel prices might be be­fore the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment an­nounced them.

“Although the crude oil price is avail­able freely on a real-time ba­sis, we can only guess the fuel prices for the fol­low­ing week as the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment never an­nounced the ac­tual for­mula used to cal­cu­late the prices,” he said, adding that he de­ci­phered the for­mula him­self.

DataA­n­a­lyst said while his pre­dic­tions were not al­ways spot on, they never de­vi­ated be­yond two sen.

He re­vealed that his for­mula could be sim­pli­fied into three ma­jor vari­ables: weekly re­fined oil prices mul­ti­plied by the weekly av­er­age ring­git-to-US-dol­lar con­ver­sion and added to the fixed cost, which hov­ers be­tween 22 and 55 sen per litre (plus 20 sen per litre tax in the case of RON97, he added).

On the Thurs­day be­fore Par­lia­ment was dis­solved on April 7, fuel prices were fixed at the cur­rent prices: RM2.20 per litre for RON95, RM2.47 for RON 97 and RM2.18 for diesel.

DataA­n­a­lyst, how­ever, had pre­dicted that prices were sup­posed to start shoot­ing up­wards.

RON95, for ex­am­ple, was sup­posed to rise to at least RM2.27 as of April 5.

Mean­while, Reuters re­ported yes­ter­day that crude oil price was at its high­est since Novem­ber 2014, hov­er­ing now at above US$71 (RM281) a bar­rel, while Brent crude was up­wards of US$79 (RM313).

In the days when prices at the pump were a sweet RM1.70 to RM1.80 here, crude oil prices were around US$45.

While Prime Min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad an­nounced ear­lier that the Gov­ern­ment was tem­po­rar­ily shield­ing the do­mes­tic scene from the surge in oil prices un­til it could re­for­mu­late fuel sub­si­dies, the Fi­nance Min­istry an­nounced yes­ter­day that the cur­rent oil price was a shot in the arm for Malaysia.

“Oil prices have been higher than the US$52 (RM205) per bar­rel es­ti­mated for Bud­get 2018.

“This pro­vides fis­cal buf­fers for the im­me­di­ate fu­ture,” the min­istry said in a state­ment to ra­tio­nalise the ab­sence of gov­ern­ment rev­enue from the Goods and Ser­vices Tax (GST) start­ing June 1, when all busi­nesses must set the GST in their ac­count­ing sys­tem to 0%.

CNBC re­ported on Wed­nes­day that the crude oil price was set to rise higher this year on ac­count of fall­ing out­put due to an eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal cri­sis in Venezuela, re­newed US sanc­tions on Ira­nian crude ex­ports and wars in Yemen and Syria.

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