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When gasoline prices again start to grow

The country predict a new fuel crisis – in other words, a further increase in prices of gasoline and diesel fuel. To promote it, according to economists, there are changes in legislation coming into force on 1 January. How justified are the predictions and what conditions they will be implemented?

Excise duties on motor fuels from 1 January 2019 will increase by 2.7–3.7 thousand rubles, said RBC Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak. According to him, the excise tax will be restored in the volumes that were planned from 1 July this year. This summer, the authorities decided to reduce the excise tax is scheduled to increase to stabilize the cost of gasoline. In January – may, gasoline prices jumped by 7.7%, which is significantly higher than inflation. After the measures taken the increase in petrol prices failed to stop, and they even decreased slightly. Not provoke any increase in excise duties, a new round of rising prices of gasoline?

In the Russian fuel Union and experts already sounded the alarm: the new jump in gasoline prices can even occur early this fall. For this there are a number of prerequisites.

First, on the background of the new sanctions is the devaluation of the ruble, which leads to a reduction of fuel supplies to the domestic market. To export is much more profitable than oil companies are.

Second, the wholesale price of motor fuel over the first few weeks of August rose nearly 8%, which happened for the first time since the spring price hike.

The third factor – the repairs of the refinery this fall. For example, from 8 September for 45 days spent on the repair of the Angarsk petrochemical company.

In other words, if you do not raise export duties on gasoline, then in the fall there will be a second wave of the fuel crisis, warned experts. Increase in fuel prices be felt in General, all population and business. Because of rising transport costs, rising prices for all goods and services, fueling inflation in General. To lose low inflation, for which so long fought the Bank of Russia, it would be an unforgivable strategic mistake.

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However, the FAS don’t see any danger. Today, the situation with fuel supply stable, according to the Federal Antimonopoly service. So, the gross margin of gas stations shows a positive trend compared to end of may 2018, says the service. So, the financial situation of gas stations is improving, and they can do without raising the price of gasoline. Moreover, it confirmed the capability and readiness of the Russian oil companies to redirect some of its exports of gasoline to the domestic market.

Current statistics are still really encouraging. She points to the increase in the supply of gasoline. In August, the supply will grow by 2.2%. Plans for the sale of gasoline on the stock exchange reexecuted as of August 22, 63 thousand tonnes (+14%). “These indicators point to the lack of prerequisites for stable violations of fueling a car with gasoline internal market of the Russian Federation”, – said the FAS. The production and shipment of diesel fuel on the domestic market is also growing. Stocks of diesel on August 20 at a high level and outperformed 2017. Plans for the sale of diesel at the exchange reexecuted.

And yet, if in the autumn fuel crisis will be avoided in the winter will be a new menacing factor. The fact that January 1 will end the tax maneuver in the oil industry. Its essence is in the gradual reduction of customs duties while increasing the mineral extraction tax. “Subject to the impact of additional factors, a new wave of growth in gasoline prices it is quite probable,” – said Anastasia Sosnova from the IR “freedom Finance”.

Meanwhile, Dmitry Kozak says that the government will not allow a jump in prices at the gas station. The energy Ministry sees no risks of rising fuel prices from 1 January 2019 due to the rising prices of excise duties and VAT, said Russian energy Minister Alexander Novak.

“As for the beginning of next year, it is likely that the authorities will cope with the problem of rising gasoline prices through a negative excise tax for the refinery. The mechanism needed to reverse the earlier increased the excise duty and VAT, as well as increasing the tax on extraction of mineral resources”, – believes Sergey Korolev of the IR “Zerich capital Management”.

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In theory, companies should be equally profitable – to ship crude oil to foreign markets or domestic. When this refinery will not suffer losses due to the reduction of export duties after the completion of the tax maneuver and keep prices down for consumers.

The only situation is complicated by the unpredictable external environment. It is difficult to calculate how much the devalue the ruble and how it will affect the implementation of the tax maneuver. “A weak ruble and aggressive growth of world oil prices make the domestic market less competitive,” says Korolev. This creates the risk.

However, if these measures fail, then the government has hidden in the sleeve of the last trump – a temporary increase of export duties on oil and oil products to 90%. This bill was approved by the Federation Council in late July. “Despite the fact that the possible use of such a tool will reduce the potential revenues of the oil with the understanding reacted to this”, – said Dmitry Kozak.

However, early to rejoice. Even if the fall and winter of the second wave of the increased cost of gasoline can be avoided, it does not mean that prices will freeze for a long time. Sergei Korolev and is waiting for the second wave of rising prices in the spring of 2019. According to him, this will happen if the ruble will continue to weaken, while prices for Brent crude will rise to $ 100 per barrel.

“Now the situation will save different mechanisms, then a winter period of reduced demand, but in the spring seasonal factor, devaluation and taxes will bring us a new round of price increases,” says Korolev. “In the long term, fuel prices in the domestic market will equal the price on the outside, it is only a matter of time” – a disappointing conversationalist.

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