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Petrol and diesel price see steepest hike since Budget

Petrol and diesel price see steepest hike since Budget

New Delhi: Petrol and diesel prices on Tuesday saw the biggest hike since July 5 Budget as India voiced concern over a spike in global oil prices following attacks on Saudi Arabian crude oil facilities.

Petrol price was increased by 14 paisa per litre to Rs 72.17 and diesel by 15 paisa to Rs 65.58 per litre in the national capital, according to price information available from state-owned oil firms.

This increase is the biggest single-day hike since the July 5 maiden Budget of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman that raised rates by almost Rs 2.50 a litre due to an increase in excise duty on fuel.

The increase in retail prices on Tuesday followed nearly 20 per cent surge in international oil prices in intraday trading — the biggest jump in almost 30 years -- in response to attacks halving Saudi Arabia's output, before closing nearly 15 per cent higher at four-month highs.

Meanwhile, Indian equities tumbled for a second session on Tuesday as investors feared that elevated crude prices may further aggravate India's fiscal concerns and cause more troubles for the economy.

Tracking weak global sentiments following drone attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities, the BSE benchmark Sensex plunged 642.22 points, or 1.73 per cent, to 36,481.09. The gauge nosedived over 704 points during the session. The broader NSE Nifty fell 185.90 points, or 1.69 per cent, to 10,817.60.

At the Interbank Foreign Exchange, the rupee opened at 71.83 then lost further ground and fell to an intra-day low of 71.98 against the US dollar.

The local unit finally settled for the day at 71.78, down 18 paise over its previous closing.

On Tuesday, international oil prices slid, although the market remains on tenterhooks over the threat of a military response to the attacks. Brent crude was down 36 cents, or 0.50 per cent, at USD 68.66 a barrel.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said India, the world's third-largest oil consumer, is keeping a close watch on the developing situation.

"Certainly when there is a spike in prices, it creates anxiety," he told reporters here. "The events since Saturday (when the Saudi oil facilities were attacked) are a matter of concerns to us."

He, however, said that oil supplies from Saudi Arabia, India's second-biggest source, have not been disrupted.

"We have uplifted more than half of the contracted quantity for September. We uplifted oil (from Saudi Arabia) yesterday (September 16) and even today (September 17)," he said.

China, South Korea, Japan and India are the biggest takers of the Saudi oil in Asia, with China and Japan leading the pack at an average of 900-1,100 kilo barrels per day each. India could be most exposed as its reserves are the least.



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