(Corrects percentage change in gasoline price in first paragraph of story published June 7.)
Vietnam cut fuel costs for the third time in a month, lowering gasoline by 3.5 percent, as policy makers pass on lower world prices to domestic consumers in a bid to contain inflation and counter slowing economic growth.
The cost of 92-RON gasoline, the most commonly used fuel grade in Vietnam, was lowered to 21,900 dong ($1.04) a liter from 22,700 dong, the Ministry of Finance said in an e-mailed statement. Diesel was reduced to 20,500 dong per liter from 21,200 dong. Fuel oil was reduced to 18,250 dong per kilogram from 18,900 dong, while kerosene was lowered to 20,400 per liter from 21,100 dong. The new prices took effect from 2 p.m. today, according to the statement.
Crude prices have fallen 5.3 percent since May 23, when Vietnam last cut petroleum prices, amid concerns that Europe’s debt crisis and weaker-than-expected Chinese manufacturing could dent demand. Lower fuel costs may help aid an economy that grew at 4 percent in the first quarter, the slowest pace since 2009. Vietnam’s inflation rate slowed to 8.34 percent in May from 23.02 percent in August 2011.
“We saw Vietnam’s growth slowing very sharply,” Singapore-based Vishnu Varathan, market economist at Mizuho Corporate Bank, said by telephone. “Trying to relieve the pressure on consumers as well as business can only be a good thing.”
Brent crude, used to price more than half the world’s oil, rose as much as 20 percent this year, amid speculation that Western sanctions aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear program will disrupt Middle East shipments. Brent for July settlement fell as much as $1.02 to $99.62 a barrel on the London ICE Futures exchange as of 3:50 p.m. in Hanoi.
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