Petroleum importers on Aug. 1 raised retail fuel prices by an average of 400-900 VND (0.019-0.043 USD) per litre.

Petrolimex, the nation's leading fuel distributor, announced prices of 22,400 VND per litre for RON 95 and 21,900 for RON 92. Diesel is set at 20,800 VND per litre and kerosene at 20,650 VND per litre, while mazut increased to 18,450 VND. The Sai Gon Petroleum Co Ltd also announced a similar price hike, with petrol products and kerosene prices rising by 400 VND.

The companies' decision followed approval from the Ministry of Finance, granted after global oil prices had increased for over 11 consecutive days.

Under current regulations of the ministries of Industry and Trade, and Finance aimed at avoiding runaway fuel prices, price adjustments must also be at least 10 days apart, and no single increase can exceed 7 per cent.

Importers are eligible to adjust prices according to market fluctuations, but the State still controlled prices to make sure that these fluctuations ds not strongly affect consumers, said the director of the Ministry of Finance's price management department, Nguyen Tien Thoa.

If prices continueso to rise, the two ministries can consider measures to control prices and taxes or allow payments from the fuel price stabilisation fund.

Meanwhile, cooking gas distributors yesterday also raised prices by 52,000 VND (2.50 USD) to an average of 367,000 VND (18 USD) per 12kg canister.

Distributors rasing prices included Sai Gon Petroleum, MT Gas and Pacific Petro, among others.

After a period of falling prices, imported gas has risen to 775 USD per tonne, 177.50 USD higher than in early July.

According to the Ho Chi Minh City market watch team, gas prices are prone to fluctuations, but pricing violations are also widespread, so the team intended to tighten inspections in the near future. In July, the team inspected 22 gas shops and agents, and 14 are found to have violated regulations by illegally extracting gas from cannisters and falsifying weights.-VNA