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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Numbers down on world economic worries

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, July 31, 2012 - Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador should see a break in petroleum prices this week when the Public Utilities Board adjusts prices again Wednesday midnight. That news comes from George Murphy, group researcher for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

The numbers
"Numbers show a modest 1.08 cent a litre drop for heating and stove oils, while diesel numbers are down by 2.1 cents a litre. Gasoline is also down by 1.7 cents a litre as the world economic and financial situation in the European Union are showing strain to keep up momentum." Murphy said.

Conditions not good
"China is showing a further slowdown in growth as the last quarter up to June. The measure showed another decline in gross domestic production, the slowest in three years of burgeoning growth from the Asian nation. Meanwhile, the European Union is also experiencing difficulties as both Spanish and Italian banks experience difficulties. Spanish banks are seeking a further bailout from their central banks, and Germany is also not eager to provide further bailout money to Greece. The feelings run rampant through the markets in the European banking sector is that the International Monetary Fund is getting sick of helping Greece with more financial aid when they don't have proof of a pay-off through Greek austerity measures."

News from the Strait of Hormuz
"Some conciliatory language last week as well sent the markets lower as Iran says it still wants to have access to the Strait, and if it still does in the face of sanctions, it won't move for their closure. The move is seen as somewhat of a strategic retreat as talks continue. Oil prices rose last week on concerns of escalating tensions in the Middle East."

Canuck buck rises
"The Canadian dollar also rose on word of the financial situation in Europe, keeping slightly ahead of the US dollar. Both currencies have gained as investors sought safe haven from falling oil prices as a result of word on all of the above market news. The Canadian dollar has gained almost two cents against its US counterpart since July 24, 2012."

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For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices
Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyNDP


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What?...No guess?


Hi to all,

Just a short note on the numbers this week. I have four days of data and cannot make an estimate for price changes this week.

In order to make a proper estimate of price changes, I need a full complement of numbers data to go against last week’s average. However, the data for three days was unpublished from all my sources this week, so, rather than take a ‘guess’ I have opted to hold back and reverse average the numbers after the ensuing price changes this Thursday. It’s the only thing I can do to get the numbers back on track for next week.

As the numbers were, for the data that I do have, they show little change, but weekend trading numbers were the most important of the bunch I get, and they were unpublished. For the first time in almost fifteen years, I can’t tell!

Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause…

Regards,

George Murphy

Group researcher/Member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyNDP

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Numbers up again on rising oil prices

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, July 17, 2012- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will see another increase to most fuel prices this week when the Public Utilities Board adjusts prices this Wednesday at midnight. That news comes from George Murphy, group researcher with the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

"Both West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil prices are showing some slight gains in the past three weeks with WTI increasing almost twelve dollars a barrel since June 28th. Refined commodities like gasoline have also increased since then by about 25 cents a US gallon. Other refined commodities like heating and stove oils, as well as diesel fuel, have also risen along with oil prices," Murphy said.

"Oil prices have increased somewhat because oil inventories have been hit by extra refining need with the driving season. With refineries needing to keep pace with demand, they're drawing on extra inventory that has reached record levels not seen since the 90's. Refiners have increased output by almost seven percentage points more but they also have been drawing down close on two million extra barrels a week to process and put on the markets to keep up with need in the process.

The numbers
"Heating and stove oils are predicted to increase by 1.9 cents a litre, with Diesel fuel to also increase by 1.5 cents a litre. Gasoline numbers show a 2.4 cent a litre increase on the way with prices breaking the $1.30 a litre mark to sit close to $1.31.5 cents a litre as the new regulated maximum. There is still a little competition out there, so consumers can still see prices well below that in the northeast Avalon area, and they're encouraged to shop around and pass the word about who is selling for less. That way, we can help keep the competitive nature of the market as it is now".

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For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices
Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyNDP


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Numbers up, but…

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, July 10, 2012- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will find prices moving upwards for heating, stove oils and diesel again this week, but gasoline? That’s a little harder to figure out this week. That’s according to George Murphy, group researcher with the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

The numbers

“Heating and stove oils show a modest increase of 1.2 cents a litre, while Diesel numbers are also up, but by 1.8 cents a litre. Gasoline is a little bit harder to figure out this week, even though my numbers are still showing an increase. Last week, gasoline was projected to increase by 3.4 cents, but the ‘actual’ turned out to be 1.0 cents a litre. This week shows another 2.1 cent a litre increase to my numbers, but if I take the difference between last week’s movement and the numbers for this week, consumers could see an added 4.5 cents a litre to prices this coming Thursday.” Murphy said. “The real truth probably lies somewhere in between. I still maintain my 2.1 cent a litre number. Nova Scotia prices did move up by last week’s predicted number of 3.4 cents a litre, which leads one to believe”.

Markets volatile

“Oil started this session at $87.66 US for West Texas Intermediate but showed a retreat late in the session to steady at $83.91 US at today’s market close. Brent crudes have also showed volatility in the last week with strategic increases and matched declines. It now sits at less than $99 US a barrel. Prices initially increased on word of a spreading offshore oil workers’ strike that since has been settled. Also add to this the fact that there is a lack of positive economic news out there, and that has played a big role in keeping oil prices lower. Look for present oil pricing to hold until more positive economic news becomes evident. Demand for most fuels, including gasoline, have remained static even though we’re deep into the summer driving and vacation season”.

Effects on the provincial treasury

“Oil may be lower, but the positive influence of lower prices has given some consumers some disposable income that they can play with, and people are generally positive to see prices for fuels drop back to something more affordable, even if they are still high. Government’s projected $124 US a barrel may not come true, but while the government may not be making the revenue from oil sales, they are still making some losses through higher gasoline taxes being collected. It’s not all bad for the government. I would also anticipate some of that money to be made back through the retail and tourism sectors as people look to spend their added disposable incomes”.

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For more information, contact;

George Murphy

Group researcher/Member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyNDP

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Is the honeymoon over?

Consumers to see increases this week

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, July 3, 2012- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will see an increase in prices for most petroleum products as oil rebounds with word of the European Union’s bailout of some Spanish and Italian banks. That has led to widespread speculation of a modest European economic recovery. That, and Iranian sabre rattling in the Straits of Hormuz, that is. That word from George Murphy, group researcher with the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

Oil rebounds

“It seems that the markets have taken a sharp turn upwards on word of a possible European economic recovery that is also leading to a possible cut in interest rates. Speculation is that it may lead to more disposable income for consumers in the troubled Eurozone. Refined commodity prices will be increasing this week as a result, along with oil’s rebound,” Murphy said.

“We also have some strong talk out of Iran that they will cut oil production in light of the European Union’s sanctions against Iran that may result in Iran removing something in the order of 3 million barrels a day of production from the world stage. It’s a retaliatory move to spark a form of protest against Iran’s developing nuclear program in which talks to dismantle the program have also broken off earlier this week.”

The numbers

“Consumers can expect to see heating and stove oil prices increase by 2.89 cents a litre, Diesel prices up by 3.7 cents a litre and gasoline to increase by 3.4 cents a litre when prices are adjusted for this Thursday. Last years numbers were slightly below with heating oils at 93.06/litre, Diesel at 130.1 a litre and gasoline at $1.28.8 at the end of June price setting.”

“The projections for summer fuel pricing still are on with the mid-July prediction for prices averaging $1.30 a litre for gasoline. In order for prices to exceed that, we’re going to have to see positive economic indicators from the chief consumer market out there, the United States, and so far, that has not been the case. Also waiting in the lurch is China. A slowdown there recently will also need to see the Asian country pull a positive move in freeing up money, probably by also tackling interest rates as a way to stimulate spending there. We’ll see what happens in the coming days.”

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For more information, contact;

George Murphy

Group researcher/Member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyNDP