State-run CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) said yesterday it would maintain a freeze on domestic fuel prices this month in line with the government’s efforts to contain inflation.
With the government calling for a freeze on domestic fuel prices in December, CPC had lost up to NT$22.9 billion (US$752.3 million) as of the first quarter of this year, Liao Tsang-long (廖滄龍), a deputy director of CPC’s industrial relations division, said in a telephone interview.
Last month alone, CPC lost approximately NT$10.3 billion, which is about 8 percent of the company’s total capital of NT$130.1 billion, Liao said.
Premier-designate Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said in an interview yesterday with Chinese Television System that the new administration would raise fuel prices immediately after taking office on May 20.
Without the price controls, CPC said it may have to raise the prices of domestic unleaded gasoline and diesel by NT$5.2 and NT$5.8 per liter respectively this month.
However, if the company were to factor in the NT dollar’s recent appreciation, the price increases could be tempered to NT$3.8 per liter for gasoline and NT$4.2 a liter for diesel, the company said in a statement.
Rival Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化), which last month raised fuel prices to reflect surging crude oil costs, reportedly plans to again raise gasoline and diesel prices by NT$1 and NT$1.1 per liter respectively by the end of this weekend, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported yesterday, without citing anyone.
Formosa’s move last month has driven most motorists to desert its pumps and fill up at CPC stations.
Formosa Petrochemical denied the report yesterday.
“We have not yet decided on whether to raise our fuel prices this month,” Matiz Lin (林明憲), a public relations officer, said by tlephone yesterday.
“We will announce our final decision on Monday,” he said.