Fuel imports in the rise as lockdowns ease and crude price surges

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  • Zimbabwe’s fuel imports up 23% in Q1 2021 from the last quarter of 2020
  • March trade data shows that fuel remained biggest driver of imports
  • Earlier this week, oil prices rose to an eight-week high

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s petrol and diesel imports at US$29 million in March 2021 increased by 16 percent from $25 million in February and by 12 percent from $26 million earlier in January 2021 which is in line with the global economic situation.

Data provided by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) shows that the country, which is a net importer of diesel and petrol imported fuel worth $80 million during the three months period to end-March 2021, 23 percent ahead of the preceding final quarter of 2020.

Source: Equity Axis Research

Fuel remained Zimbabwe’s biggest driver of imports where the cumulative imports value for March stood at $527 million against a total export value of $462 million.

Since the turn of the year, the Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) has been reviewing pump prices on each 5th day of the month in line with global crude oil prices.

The current maximum pump price for petrol at US$1.34 per litre represented a slight decrease from $1.35/litre that was set in April. Diesel remained unchanged in US Dollar terms at $1.32/litre. This was the first time the authority did not review prices upwards since the turn of the year.

Crude oil prices

Crude oil prices are on the rise and this will likely further drive pump prices.

In February 2021, Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and partner countries (OPEC+) cuts, combined with supply disruptions in the United States, contributed to monthly global petroleum inventory withdrawals leading to higher prices.

The Brent crude oil futures price averaged $63 per barrel in early March leading up to the OPEC+ meeting, and the OPEC+ announcement put further upward pressure on crude oil prices up to May.

The sustained OPEC+ production curtailment as demand continues to increase in line with a surge in global economic activity continues to put pressure on oil prices.

Earlier this week, oil prices rose to an eight-week high as U.S. crude exports plunged and on signs of a speedy economic recovery and upbeat forecasts for energy demand.

Equity Axis News

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