Asian nations raise fuel prices

Following are some recent actions taken by governments around the region.

* MALAYSIA- Malaysia has hiked petrol prices by 40 per cent which will be effective from 5th June 2008 to reduce the government's massive subsidy.
The price of a litre of petrol will be raised by 78 sen to 2.70 ringgit (USD 0.84) while diesel will go up by one ringgit to 2.58 ringgit (USD 0.80) per litre, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi said adding that a new electricity tariff structure will take effect from July one.
While the increase in prices would still keep them as among the cheapest in Asia, the move is expected to lift the inflation rate to as much as 5 per cent.
It is the first time in two years that electricity and fuel prices have been increased. Fuel prices had not been changed in the country since February 2006.
"We cannot naturally keep subsidising at the current rate," Abdullah told reporters.
The government would extend an annual cash rebate of 625 ringgit (USD 201) per year to owners of cars with engine capacity of up to 2,000 cc and pick up trucks and jeeps of up to 2500 cc to offset their burden from the price hike, he said.
"Owners of private motorcycles of engine capacity of up to 250 cc will be paid a cash rebate of 150 ringgit per year," he said.
The prime minister said the cash rebate would be given to the owners of the cars and motorcycles when they paid or renewed their road tax.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Shahrir Abdul Samad had said earlier that Malaysia's long term plan was to increase the price of petrol to market price maybe by August.

* SRI LANKA - Colombo raised kerosene, petrol and diesel prices by between 14 and 47 percent. The chairman of Sri Lanka's Ceylon Petroleum Corp. said the increases would allow the company merely to halve its losses from 175 million Sri Lanka rupees ($1.62 million) a day.

* BANGLADESH - State-run Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation, the sole oil importer and distributor, has proposed fuel price increases of 37-80 percent. The interim army-backed government is due to decide shortly about the oil company's proposal.

* INDONESIA - The world's fourth-most populous country raised fuel prices by an average 28.7 percent from Saturday to help cut a surging subsidy bill that has hit the government's 2008 budget. Indonesia has some of the lowest fuel prices in Asia, but with parliamentary and presidential elections due in 2009, the government had tried to resist cutting fuel subsidies.

* INDIA - Petroleum Secretary M.S. Srinivasan told reporters on Friday India is set to raise petrol and diesel prices. India sets the heavily discounted prices at which fuel is sold in order to help fight inflation and protect hundreds of millions of poor people from price shocks. It partially compensates oil retailers by issuing oil bonds to them, which they can either hold as assets or sell in the market, while upstream companies share some of the burden.

* TAIWAN - President Ma Ying-jeou's new administration has announced it is abolishing price controls on petrol and diesel from June 1.


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