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New Petroleum Prices for March – April 2018

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15th March, 2018 The Ministry of Commerce, Consumer, Trade, Innovation & Labour wishes to advise that the Tonga Competent Authority (TCA) has approved the new petroleum prices for March – April 2018 to be effective from Friday, 16th March 2018.

Brent crude oil rose above USD70/bbl early January, the first time since December 2014. Prices fell from that level, dropping to less than USD 62/bbl mid-February before recovering to around USD 65/bbl. Global demand is proving to be robust with the oil market growing with overall economic growth and OPEC and its partners are retaining their discipline on production restraints. While these factors helped drive the market above USD 70/bbl in January, there was a correction in February with the view being that these higher price will provide a large boost to United States (US) shale oil production. US production for 2018 is projected to exceed the previous peak in 1970 and could increase further, such that the US would become the world’s largest producer (overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia).

Supply and demand are well balanced with prices expected to remain around USD 65/bbl in the short term and USD 50-70/bbl in the medium term. Dated Brent averaged USD 65.19/bbl in February which was USD 1.00/bbl higher than December 2017 and USD 3.99 lower than January 2018.

Product prices were similar to crude expect petrol prices, which fell due to plentiful supply and little new demand putting downward pressure on refining margins. In contrast, kerosene and diesel prices were firm. Kerosene prices rose more than crude with prices supported by record cold temperatures in north Asia which meant demand for kerosene (made as alternative to jet fuel) remained firm, rather than easing as would be normal at this time of year.

Due to the aftermath of cyclone Gita having affected all of Tonga, the Competent Authority directed that the monthly petroleum price review due on the 16th February is not implemented, although all prices were increased. The Competent Authority later approved recovery by oil companies of revenue lost in the February price review incorporated through a one-off recovery in March price change.

Therefore, all product prices are mixed. Wholesale kerosene and diesel will increase by 8.70 seniti/litre and 4.47 seniti/litre respectively while petrol prices were marginal, down by 0.78 seniti/litre. For retail prices of kerosene and diesel will increase by 9.31seniti/litre and 4.47seniti/litre respectively whereas petrol price decrease by 0.78. All price changes include consumption tax.


For further information please contact the Ministry of Commerce, Consumer, Trade, Innovation & Labour at telephone 23688 ext 131


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