Petrol prices in Vietnam hit a new all-time high of nearly 27,000 VND ($1.18) last week after authorities adjusted them higher for the sixth consecutive time.
Prices of popular gasoline RON 95 increased by 27.5% year-on-year to VND26,830 per litre, while those of E5 RON 92 biofuel and diesel increased by 33% to VND26,070 and 21 310 VND, respectively.
Thanh, a construction worker in Binh Chanh district at HCMC, said it took him 70,000 VND to fill his bike’s tank at the time. Now he has spent 110,000 VND to do so.
Having to travel long distances for work, he refuels his bike five times a month, which costs him an additional 200,000 VND.
“Not only gasoline, but all other expenses have also increased, costing me millions of dong more each month while my daily salary remains at 350,000 VND,” Thanh said.
Soaring gasoline prices pushed Vietnam’s consumer price index up 1.42 percent in February, according to the General Statistics Office.
Smaller retailers and traders also struggled to make a profit as gasoline hit consecutive new highs.
A vegetable stall at Xom Moi Market in the Go Vap neighborhood of HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Thi Ha
Le Phuong, a vegetable retailer at Minh Phung market in HCMC’s District 6, said record gasoline prices have pushed up his transportation costs by nearly half a million dong each month, while that commodity prices have increased by 15%. It increased its selling prices by 5%.
Tien, a chicken wholesaler in Go Vap district, said his fuel cost had doubled to 600,000 VND per day, or 18 million VND per month. He said he now only makes a profit of 700,000 VND per day, compared to 1.2 million VND before.
“My profits have been eaten up by gas prices,” he said.
Many companies, especially those in the transportation sector, have reported struggling to break even, let alone profit.
Lam Dai Vinh, director of HCMV-based Lam Vinh Transport JSC, said his company bears additional costs of VND 800 million every month for fuel alone.
“Last year, we got a discount of VND 1,000 for each liter when we buy in large quantities. Now we don’t get discounts and have to pay retail price for diesel fuel,” he said. added.
Many HCMC transport companies are negotiating with partners to increase their rates, while others plan to reduce operations or switch to other companies to mitigate losses.
Most manufacturing companies said their input costs rose 5-15% in the first quarter of this year.
The heads of a supermarket chain in HCMC are eyeing soaring sale prices. However, they said the purchasing power of the market is too weak.
Last Friday, the Ministry of Finance proposed to lower the environmental tax on gasoline by 25% for the rest of the year in order to reduce fuel prices.