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India urges oil traders not to increase fuel prices



India's state oil retailers were asked not to raise diesel and gasoline prices in the retail sector and to absorb some of the losses due to the recent recovery of global crude oil, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Companies including Indian Oil Corp., Bharat Petroleum Corp. and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. will suffer a loss of up to 1

rupees per liter on the sale of diesel and gasoline, people said they should not be identified because the matter is private. Indian Oil's shares even tumbled 7.6 percent in Mumbai, most since November 2016 in intraday trading, while HPCL lost 8.3 percent.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to keep oil prices under control to shore up popular support before a series of state elections this year. The South Asian nation, which imports more than 80 percent of its annual oil needs, wants to see prices around $ 50 a barrel to better manage its finances, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in an interview.

A reduction in excise duty on fuel prices is unlikely because revenue is slow to accumulate due to a botched introduction of the excise duty and service tax. The Oil Ministry was asked to pay subsidies at different prices in the event of a further increase in oil prices.

HPCL is not aware of any policy that the government should absorb part of the losses from higher crude oil prices. Company Chairman M. K Surana said on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in New Delhi.

While Modi has received the biggest price drop in a generation since he took office in 2014, the oil is recovering as the government prepares for the 2019 election. Since reaching a low of $ 27.1 per barrel in 2016, Brent crude is currently trading at $ 70.

– With the support of Dhwani Pandya


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