Here’s what you can expect to pay for petrol in August

South African motorists should expect another petrol price hike next week, with month-end data from the Central Energy Fund showing an under-recovery in the daily make up of the basic fuel price.

The projected price changes would follow sizeable hikes over the past two months, with petrol having increased by R1.72 per litre, and diesel by R1.73 per litre in July.

The expected changes as at 27 July are:

  • Petrol 95: 11 cents per litre increase
  • Petrol 93: 15 cents per litre increase
  • Diesel 0.05%: 50 cents per litre increase
  • Diesel 0.005%: 49 cents per litre increase
  • Illuminating paraffin: 44 cents per litre increase

These price increases would push the cost of petrol back in the direction of pre-lockdown levels, where a litre of 95 petrol was R15.84. Under lockdown, fuel prices dropped significantly, in line with a global decline in demand as people stayed at home to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

However, as lockdown restrictions around the world have eased or ended, demand for petroleum products has returned, and prices have again risen.

This is reflected in the CEF’s data, which shows a steady climb in international petroleum prices over the course of July, which has contributed to a 20 to 24 cents per litre under-recovery in petrol, and a 59 cents per litre under-recovery in diesel.

This has been largely driven by rising oil prices, which have settled above the $40 a barrel mark in July – having climbed from negative values during lockdown.

However, this has been balanced out by a stronger performance in the rand over the same period, which has contributed to a 9 cents per litre over-recovery across all fuel types.

The Automobile Association stressed the importance of the rand/dollar exchange rate in the overall picture, saying that the performance of the local unit plays heavily into movements in the price.

The rand is currently at the whims of international markets, with no new local data to drive sentiment. Particular focus at the moment is on the US Federal Reserve, which is expected to allow rates in the US to stay lower for longer.

Market sentiment has worked in South Africa’s favour in the preceding weeks, with bearish views on the US economy, alongside geopolitical worries, pushing investors into emerging market assets.

Locally, fundamentals remain weak, but the approval of a R70 billion loan from the IMF has stirred some positive views and hopes for a better economic recovery.

However, economists at the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) noted that the increase in fuel prices in June and July had a significantly negative impact on the economy, at a time when things are particularly constrained in terms of consumer spending and productive output.

This means higher prices in August could have the same effect.

This is how the prices will be reflected at the pumps:

Fuel (Inland) July Official August Expected
95 Petrol R15.12 R15.23
93 Petrol R14.83 R14.98
0.05% Diesel (wholesale) R13.03 R13.53
0.005% Diesel (wholesale) R13.07 R13.56
Illuminating Paraffin R7.03 R7.47

Read: South Africa’s petrol stations with the best customer ratings

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Here’s what you can expect to pay for petrol in August