Wholesale gasoline prices fell 14-15% over the past month, returning to the level at the beginning of the year amid a seasonal decline in demand, high production volumes and the consequences of the autumn fuel embargo. Only the cost of winter diesel fuel remains high, which market participants attribute to demand from large consumers. Prices stabilized until the spring, according to Kommersant’s interlocutors, but some of them do not exclude the scenario of their growth after the presidential elections in mid-March, recalling a similar scenario in 2018.
Prices for wholesale quantities of gasoline on the St. Petersburg International Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange (SPIMEX) have been steadily declining since mid-November, showing only short-term small pullbacks. The price of AI-92 on December 8 dropped by 2%, to 41.6 thousand rubles. per ton (by 15% compared to November 14). Gasoline AI-95 fell in price by 0.6%, to 46.3 thousand rubles. per ton (by 14% compared to mid-November). The last time fuel prices were at this level was at the end of February 2023.
Summer grades of diesel fuel, the export of which was resumed at the end of November after a two-month embargo, are becoming cheaper less, trading at 53.4 thousand rubles. per ton. That’s about 4% above late February levels, but 28% below the mid-September peak. The cost of winter diesel fuel at the end of trading on December 8 decreased by 0.6%, to 69.2 thousand rubles. Quotes do not show an obvious decline, constantly returning to growth. At the same time, relative to the beginning of the year, its value remains quite high (36.6% higher than the end of February).
The price of gasoline is also falling on the retail market. For the week from November 27 to December 4, the average price dropped by 0.15%, to 54.6 rubles. per liter The AI-92 grade fell in price by 0.16%, to 50.2 rubles, AI-95 – by 0.18%, to 54.8 rubles. The price of diesel fuel over the week increased by 0.02%, to 64.3 rubles. per liter In November, according to Rosstat, compared to October, gasoline fell in price by 0.7%, diesel fuel rose in price by 0.3%.
As one of the market participants explained to Kommersant, the petroleum products market has now completely stabilized; against the backdrop of a seasonal decline in demand, wholesale prices will continue to gradually decline. He notes that many large consumers have provided themselves with the necessary volumes of fuel until spring. “Until March, in the middle of which the presidential elections in the Russian Federation are scheduled, motor fuels will definitely not rise in price,” he says. According to him, problems with high prices persist only in the Far East due to low liquidity.
Kommersant’s interlocutor explains the jumps in the cost of wholesale quantities of winter diesel fuel by the fact that the main buyers (80% of all volumes) are industrial enterprises, which, if necessary, are ready to purchase the product “at any price.” In addition, Kommersant’s interlocutor notes, there remains a shortage of winter diesel fuel production in Russia, despite the increase in production in recent years. In addition, he says, despite the government’s actions, the problem of gray exports remains, which remains at the level of 30-40 thousand tons per month.
The lifting of export restrictions coincided with the end of repairs at all refineries and a sharp increase in production, notes Maxim Dyachenko, managing partner of Petroleum Trading. “Also, the return of the damper and the strengthening of the ruble have made our market premium, manufacturers are trying to sell as much as possible here,” he adds. “And finally, administrative pressure, regulators strictly ensure that the domestic market is oversaturated. There is also a protective duty on the export of commodity goods for mini-refineries, and this also reduces demand at auction.” According to Mr. Dyachenko, the current situation can be expected to continue for the next three to four months. “The most interesting thing will be after the elections, when the government resigns and regulatory control is sharply reduced. Last time in 2018, under such conditions, the market experienced the worst fuel crisis in recent years, retail prices increased by 5 rubles. for 1.5 months,” he recalls, adding that now the accumulated gap in the growth of retail prices from wholesale prices is approximately the same.