The Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) on August 18 reduced the price of RON 92 gasoline by 600 VND (2.8 US cents) to 24,210 VND (1.01 USD) per litre.

The move followed a joint decision by the ministries of Industry and Trade and Finance, which asked fuel dealers to cut retail prices.

This is the third time that the retail price of petrol has been reduced this year, with a total reduction of 1,430 VND per litre after five consecutive increases.

The price of diesel was cut by 80 VND to 22,090 VND (1.05 USD) per litre. The price of kerosene was also reduced by 70 VND per litre to 22,250 VND (1.06 USD), while that of mazut was reduced by 60 VND to 18,380 VND (0.88 USD) per kilogramme.

The two ministries also asked traders to stop using the stabilisation fund together with the reduction.

Local petrol wholesalers were reported to be making high profits of 500 VND to 630 VND per litre, depending on the fuel, as the world fuel prices have been falling.

Estimates by the Vietnam Petroleum Association showed that as of August 14, the average basic price of the A92 gasoline in the 30-day period was 113,38 USD per barrel, while in the 10-day period it was 109,57 USD per barrel. The domestic retail petrol price is 24,810 VND (1.18 USD) per litre, while the basic price is 24,473 VND (1.17 USD) per litre.

The association said the traders made a profit of 337 VND per litre of petrol, plus 300 VND per litre received from the price stabilisation fund. In total, the traders made a profit of 637 VND per litre.

The association also estimated that Vietnam consumes 40 million tones of petrol a day. Wholesale dealers would make profit of several billion dong a day, as per the current profit of 637 VND per litre.

Under the Government's Decree 84/2009/ND-CP, traders can adjust petrol prices up to 7 percent in line with the world prices, according to the minimum calculating period of 10 days.

Nguyen Anh Tuan, Director of the Finance Ministry's Price Management Department, said management of petrol prices follows the decree to ensure benefits to all parties including the State, businesses and consumers.

Tuan said the retail prices of petrol were adjusted without considering taxes and inflation.

Ngo Huy Loi, Director of the Tax Policies Department, said under the import-export tax regulations, the maximum tax on imported petrol was 40 percent.

The current import tax was 18 percent for gasoline and between 14 and 16 percent for kerosene. The current retail price includes 32.1 percent taxes and fees or 8,300 VND per litre.-VNA