"In Poland, fuel prices remain very high compared to the prices of diesel or unleaded petrol on the European wholesale market. These differences are so large that even taking into account all the elements supporting extremely high retail prices, we can expect rapid drops in the coming weeks,' says Marcin Lipka, Conotoxia Senior Analyst.
The second half of December generates further drops in fuel prices in the European wholesale market. Unleaded petrol in the festive week fell to 1.27 PLN per litre. These are the lowest prices in over two years. It is also about 0.75 PLN less than the average price in the period of May-September.
Also, the price of diesel is declining significantly. This is evident in ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) quotations, which set prices for refineries in the Old Continent. Currently, a litre costs 1.66 PLN. This is the least since March this year and about 0.40 PLN below the average prices of May-August. It is also over 0.70 PLN less than the long-term records reached at the beginning of October.
No more excuses
High retail fuel prices in October and November were mostly justified. They took into account the fact that retailers' margins were low at the turn of the summer and autumn when wholesale prices were high and retail prices relatively low.
Serious logistic problems on the fuel market in Germany (low level of the Rhine, cutoffs in refineries) contributed to higher prices at stations due to shortages of this raw material. Transport problems also concerned biofuels (mainly those added to diesel), which increased the final diesel prices.
Probably also the low margin on diesel was balanced by the higher margin on petrol, which was less affected by refinery problems or drought. However, in general, most of the observed tensions between September and November disappeared. The reasons why fuels were so expensive also vanished. In addition, the earlier implied addition of emission duty (about 0.10 PLN per litre from January 2019) should be replaced by deep falls in the price of diesel or unleaded petrol on the European market.
It is really expensive, but it won't last
On the ARA market, quotations of unleaded petrol at a level close to 1.3 PLN per litre in recent years have meant a price of about 4.2-4.30 PLN per litre for Polish consumers. According to the latest European Commission data of December 17th, the retail cost of unleaded petrol in Poland amounted to 4.83 PLN per litre.
Assuming that retailers are willing to maintain higher margins or the risks associated with the emission charge, the possibility of drops in the price of "95" petrol is 0.25-0.35 PLN over the next 3-4 weeks. At the end of January, a litre of the popular lead-free petrol should not exceed 4.50-4.60 PLN.
The same applies to diesel. Wholesale quotations of diesel of 1.66 PLN per litre should correspond to the retail price of 4.50-4.60 PLN per litre. Meanwhile, according to EC data, diesel in Poland at the beginning of the second half of December cost 5.10 PLN.
As a result, at the beginning of January, diesel oil should cost less than 5 PLN per litre at a growing number of stations, and in the following weeks, it should decrease by at least another 0.20-0.30 PLN, even taking into account all of the factors, which increased fuel prices in the past few months.