Fickle Pricing

Dec 30, 2009 (LBO) – The Sri Lanka unit of Indian Oil Corporation said it is likely to make losses on petrol sales after the dominant state-owned oil refiner slashed retail prices barely a month ahead of presidential polls. Last month on petrol sales we made a profit of one rupee per litre, said K R Suresh Kumar, managing director of Lanka IOC. In the last eight months we have been making losses on petrol.

Last month’s profits from petrol sales are likely to turn into losses, while losses from sale of diesel fuel would continue to mount if the state refinery cuts the diesel price as well which LIOC would be forced to match, he said.

The state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Tuesday slashed the price of a litre of 90 Octane petrol to 115 rupees from 130 rupees, and 95 octane petrol to 133 rupees a litre from 148 rupees.

The move came with presidential elections barely a month a way and followed government-mandated price cuts in essential commodities like sugar and other products.

The Consumer Service ministry has called a news conference Wednesday to announce a price cut in liquid petroleum gas.

Price cuts ahead of elections are an old gimmick resorted to by ruling parties to try to w