Retail petrol prices on Aug. 28 increased by 650 VND (0.033 USD) per litre to 23,650 VND while diesel rose by 300 VND per litter to 21,850 VND.

The move was made when the oil prices on the global market increased by 13.24 percent against the previous month; diesel prices went up 8.66 percent; kerosene went 9.59 percent and mazut 8.01 percent, the Ministry of Finance reported.

The ministry gave petrol importers the right to make decisions on price hikes of petrol products within a margin of plus-or-minus 7 percent under Government Decree No 84/2009/ND-CP issued in 2009, said Nguyen Tien Thoa, director of the ministry's price management department.

"In addition, the ministry decided to keep steady the import taxes of the products. It permitted the importers to deduct 500 VND for each litre of oil and 300 VND for each litre of diesel, kerosene and mazut from the oil price stabilisation fund as an effort to rein in the price hike of the products," he said.
The enterprises will decide when to raise prices and the fund extraction will coincide with the price hike.
"At present, the total fund is about 500 billion VND (23.8 million USD)," he said.

In case the prices in the world market continue rising, the ministry will apply a synchronised solution. This will likely include lower import taxes, higher deduction from the fund and higher prices.
The current import taxes for each litre/kilo of petrol products ranged from 5,000-7,000 VND (0.238-0.333 USD).

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has sufficient sources of petrol and oil to meet public demand and will co-ordinate with relevant sectors to strictly fine importers and distributors found guilty of fraud and speculation, said head of the ministry's Domestic Market Department Vo Van Quyen.

The ministry's announcement is expected to put the public's mind at ease following a number of petrol stations declaring their intentions to cease the sale of petrol while waiting for price increases.
A ministry document issued last week requires wholesale distributors to observe a Government decree on petrol and oil trading. In addition, they have to ensure the timely supply of enough and various types of petrol and oil for their branches, agents and retail stations.

City and provincial industry and trade departments were also asked to strengthen inspections in order to uncover petrol and oil trading violations.

According to a report made by the ministry's Market Watch Department, two petrol stations in the southern provinces of Dong Nai and Binh Duong are set to receive fines after local market watch teams found them guilty of business fraud and speculation last week. As a result, their business licences may be revoked.

However, others in Binh Duong, such as Vo Hong Thanh, a petrol station owner in the province's Ben Cat District, have been forced to close their stations due to a genuine petrol shortage.

"Since the most recent petrol price hike, the volume of petrol being sent to retail agents such as me has become increasingly limited on a day-by-day basis. We do not have enough petrol and have no choice but to close the station," said Thanh.

Nguyen Van Son, another petrol station owner in Binh Duong's Thu Dau Mot City , said he received 2,000 litres of petrol from his supplier after switching off his pumps for nearly one day. Son said that volume of petrol would sell out within only one or two hours because other near-by petrol stations had closed.

The provincial market watch team on Aug. 27 inspected several stations that had stopped selling, however, none of them were found to be speculating in petrol.

The team's deputy head, Tran Van Tung, said he asked Thanh Le Company, the leading petrol supplier in the province, to distribute more petrol to retail agents in order to stabilise the market.

A representative of Thanh Le said the company on Aug. 28 supplied more than 500 cubic metres, equal to 500,000 litres of petrol, to its agents, before adding that Thanh Le will investigate any stations that had reportedly closed and determine the reason.

It's reported that more than 30 petrol stations have had their business licences revoked so far this year. The stations found guilty of fraud and speculation were fined more than 6 billion VND (288,000 USD), with the money going to the State budget.

Since early this year, the domestic price of petrol and oil has been adjusted ten times, five of which up and the remainder down. The latest adjustment, on April 13, increased the price of petrol by 1,100 VND per litre to 23,000 VND.-VNA