Fuel prices are likely to rise again at the end of July going into August, based on the unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund. International oil prices see-sawed during the first half of July, but remained within a fairly narrow band and did not contribute substantially to the price rises we are anticipating for next month.
The big news is again on the Rand front. The local currency started this month with a deficit thanks to several days of losses against the US dollar at the end of June. However, the Rand clawed back some of these losses during a period of unusually flat trading in the first half of June.
Current data suggests a price rise of 19 cents a litre for petrol, 13 cents for diesel, and 22 cents for illuminating paraffin.
If the prevailing Rand and fuel price trends persist for the rest of July, the fuel price increase may be lower than expected, but we cannot rule out the possibility of further volatility. The recent spike in fuel prices is cause for great concern as it is impacting on the lives of all South Africans, especially the poorest of the poor who rely on paraffin for heating, lighting and cooking.
The increases have brought the issue of fuel costs firmly into the public domain and we believe now is a good opportunity for the government to revisit the issue of the fuel levies with a view to reducing them significantly, especially as this is a cost it has control over.