Trade: Fuel prices dropped across the country starting yesterday midnight. Petrol and diesel prices are down by about Nu 1.78 and Nu 0.47 a litre each.

A litre of petrol will now cost Nu 59.06 in Thimphu, Nu 57.16 in Phuentsholing, Nu 53.75 in Gelephu and Nu 55.81 in Trashigang. Diesel will cost Nu 45.53 in Thimphu, Nu 43.91 in Phuentsholing, Nu 43.33 in Gelephu and Nu 45.24 in Trashigang.

The price cuts follow similar reduction in India that came in to effect from midnight September 1. Petrol price fell by Nu 2, while diesel price dropped by Nu 0.50 triggered by a fall in global oil prices.

There were two similar price cuts in August. In total, petrol prices fell by Nu 5.7 a litre and diesel prices by Nu 5.27 a litre in August in India. Since the last price change, there has been a decrease in international prices of both petrol and diesel.

“However, Rupee-US Dollar exchange rate has depreciated during this period. The impact of both these factors warrants a downward revision in prices,” the Indian Oil Corporation stated in a press release.

The price of crude oil fell by Nu 366 a barrel in August but the oil company stated that the full benefit of this fall in global oil prices has not been transferred to the consumers.

“The movement of prices in the international market and Rupee-USD exchange rate shall be monitored closely and developing trends of the market will be reflected in future price changes,” it stated.

The first hike this year was in February following the weakening of rupee against the dollar and rise in global fuel price.

Since last August, petrol prices dropped 10 times while diesel prices saw seven reductions.

Oil prices in the international market fell by more than 57 percent from June last year to January this year. It dropped from US$ 115 a barrel to less than US$ 45 a barrel during this period. This decrease in fuel prices also brought down inflation from eight to six percent from June to November last year. Petrol price was Nu 56.2 and diesel Nu 48.1 a litre each then.

Last year, between January to October, Bhutan imported fossil fuel worth Nu 5.6B. In 2013, the country spent Nu 7.8B on fossil fuel.

India imports 80 percent of fuel requirements from abroad, while Bhutan imports all its fuel from India.

Tshering Palden