Japan average pump price up for 9th straight week

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The average retail price of regular gasoline in Japan has risen for the ninth straight week, reflecting sharp increases in crude oil prices, government data showed Thursday.

The nationwide average came to ¥168.7 per liter as of Monday, rising ¥1.4 from a week before to hit the highest level since August 2014, according to data from the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry.

Crude oil futures are staying around seven-year highs, reflecting concerns about tight supply and increasing demand following the resumption of economic activities that had been restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Japan and other countries have demanded an oil production hike. But oil prices are likely to remain high unless oil-producing nations meet their request.

The average gasoline price rose in 45 of Japan’s 47 prefectures, with Kagoshima marking the highest average at ¥176.9. The average price topped ¥170 in 12 prefectures including Nagano, Kyoto, Kochi, Nagasaki and Okinawa.

The biggest rise was ¥3.4 marked by Tokyo, followed by ¥2.9 in Kagoshima and ¥2.8 in Ibaraki. Prices were flat in Tottori and dropped ¥0.2 in Toyama.

The nationwide average retail price of kerosene stood at ¥1,939 per 18 liters, up ¥29. The average increased for the ninth straight week.

This week, oil distributors lowered wholesale gasoline prices by about ¥1.5, based on the latest crude oil market developments.

The Oil Information Center of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, which conducts the price survey for the ministry, expects that the average gasoline price will drop for the first time in 10 weeks next week.

But the center added that prices may increase at some gas stations that have not fully passed higher procurement costs on to consumers.