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Petrol, diesel prices cut

New Delhi, Nov. 15: State-run refiners have cut petrol and diesel prices by 68-81 paise across the country, passing on to customers the benefit of a slide in global crude cost.

“The new prices will be effective from midnight,” a senior official said. “Petrol prices in both Mumbai and Chennai have been lowered by 75 paise while the prices in Calcutta and Delhi have been cut by 69 paise.”

The new petroleum prices are Rs 29.57 per litre in Delhi and Rs 31.01 in Calcutta. In Mumbai and Chennai, the rates per litre are Rs 32.23 and Rs 32.05, the official said.

The revised diesel prices are Rs 19.96 for Calcutta and Rs 23.57 for Mumbai while in Chennai and Delhi, the new rates are Rs 20.43 and Rs 18.57 a litre, he added.

After the administered pricing mechanism was dismantled this April, oil companies became free to decide retail prices of petrol and diesel. However, they were required to reset these on the 1st and 16th of every month.

The prices are usually based on the average procurement cost of crude during the fortnight. However, the companies remain state-controlled as they look up to the petroleum ministry for guidance in vital policy decisions like pricing.

The Indian basket of crude oil for the month has averaged $23.72 a barrel as against the average of $26.65 per barrel in the second half of October. The benchmark Brent crude has fallen from $27.31 a barrel in the second fortnight of October to $24.21 a barrel this month.

Petroleum officials say that for a $3 slide in crude prices, petrol and diesel prices can be lowered by Rs 1.50-Rs 1.75 a litre. But oil companies have decided against passing on the full benefit of the fall in global prices, to offset a part of the notional loss they suffered in the past for holding the price-line when crude rates went through the roof.

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