Speaking about this decision, director of the Price Management Department Nguyen Tien Thoa said all tariffs of imported diesel oil, mazut oil and petrol were still much lower than the 10 percent ceiling set by the government.

The import price of petrol end-products from the Singaporean market, which is Vietnam's main fuel supplier, has remained low and stable, allowing petrol importers to make significant profits, Thoa told Tuoi Tre Newspaper.

The prices of petrol products imported into Vietnam on December 22 and 23 were US$113 per barrel. Earlier, petrol prices in all transactions in Singapore were about $108 or $109 per barrel. The average price of imported petrol since December 16 is thus $110 per barrel.

In addition, petrol traders have also been receiving financial assistance from the petrol price stabilization fund, which is VND550 per liter.

As the domestic retail price for petrol is VND20,400 ($0.97) per liter, petrol traders can generate a profit of about VND700 per liter, including the fixed profit of VND300 a liter, as stipulated by the Ministry of Finance on wholesalers' prime cost calculation.

Petrolimex said it had gained a profit of VND800 on every liter of A92 gasoline they sold from December 1 to December 15 when the price of petrol imported from Singapore was $111.06 per barrel.

In November, it also reaped VND1,000 a liter for gasoline.

According to market watchdogs, the finance ministry's recent changes on petrol-pricing policies only protected the interests of the State and enterprises rather than consumers. It is reflected most clearly by the ministry’s hesitance to cut petrol retail prices to help consumers.

A source from the ministry said it was preparing to make some adjustments on current regulations related to oil and gas price calculations, such as the formula for prime costs, fixed business expenses and price stabilization funds.

Tuoi Tre News - January 2, 2012