Tag: price

Pain at the pumps after record increase

By Shamiela Fisher for EWN

The price of petrol goes up by a rand at midnight while diesel increases by between 63 and 65 cents a litre.

This record increase in the price of fuel will see them pay about R17 for a litre of petrol.

The mineral resources and energy ministry said it was due to crude oil prices, global petroleum product prices, the Rand/US Dollar exchange rate, as well as Fuel and Road Accident Fund Levies.

Eyewitness News spoke to a few motorists about the hikes.

“I’m definitely unhappy with the petrol hike. It’s obviously going to affect us in our homes,” said one motorist.

Another added that: “It’s affecting my pocket negatively as I need to travel to work.”

“This is one of my biggest expenses every month, so this would really negatively affect my financial situation,” said another motorist.

Meanwhile, trade union UASA said it was deeply concerned by the continuous fuel price increases.

In a statement on Tuesday, the union said: “[These increases leave the] workers in financial distress as they have to chip in more for their basic needs. The increase will be passed on to the consumer who will be forced to pay more for their basic needs.”

 

Steep petrol price increase on Wednesday

Source: Eyewitness News

The Energy Department has announced that the price of petrol will increase by 81 cents on Wednesday, 3 February.

Meanwhile, the price of diesel will rise by between 58 and 59 cents a litre and illuminating paraffin will cost 59 cents more a litre.

LPG will cost 193 cents more per kilogram.

Citing reasons for the prices increases, the Energy Department stated that the average international product prices for petrol, diesel and illuminating paraffin increased during the period under review.

“The rand depreciated against the US dollar during the period under review, on average, when compared to the previous period. The average rand/US dollar exchange rate for the period 31 December 2020 to 28 January 2021 was 15.0872 compared to 14.9391 during the previous period.”

 

Source: BBC

The price of US oil has turned negative for the first time in history.

That means oil producers are paying buyers to take the commodity off their hands over fears that storage capacity could run out in May.

Demand for oil has all but dried up as lockdowns across the world have kept people inside.

As a result, oil firms have resorted to renting tankers to store the surplus supply and that has forced the price of US oil into negative territory.

The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the benchmark for US oil, fell as low as minus $37.63 a barrel.

“This is off-the-charts wacky,” said Stewart Glickman, an energy equity analyst at CFRA Research. “The demand shock was so massive that it’s overwhelmed anything that people could have expected.”

The severe drop on Monday was driven in part by a technicality of the global oil market. Oil is traded on its future price and May futures contracts are due to expire on Tuesday. Traders were keen to offload those holdings to avoid having to take delivery of the oil and incur storage costs.

June prices for WTI were also down, but trading at above $20 per barrel. Meanwhile, Brent Crude – the benchmark used by Europe and the rest of the world, which is already trading based on June contracts – was also weaker, down 8.9% at less than $26 a barrel.

Mr Glickman said the historic reversal in pricing was a reminder of the strains facing the oil market and warned that June prices could also fall, if lockdowns remain in place. “I’m really not optimistic about the prospects for oil companies or oil prices,” he said.

OGUK, the business lobby for the UK’s offshore oil and gas sector, said the negative price of US oil would affect firms operating in the North Sea.

“The dynamics of this US market are different from those directly driving UK produced Brent but we will not escape the impact,” said OGUK boss Deirdre Michie.

“Ours is not just a trading market; every penny lost spells more uncertainty over jobs,” she said.

The oil industry has been struggling with both tumbling demand and in-fighting among producers about reducing output.

Earlier this month, Opec members and its allies finally agreed a record deal to slash global output by about 10%. The deal was the largest cut in oil production ever to have been agreed.

But many analysts say the cuts were not big enough to make a difference.

“It hasn’t taken long for the market to recognise that the Opec+ deal will not, in its present form, be enough to balance oil markets,” said Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axicorp.

The leading exporters – Opec and allies such as Russia – have already agreed to cut production by a record amount.

In the United States and elsewhere, oil-producing businesses have made commercial decisions to cut output. But still the world has more crude oil than it can use.

And it’s not just about whether we can use it. It’s also about whether we can store it until the lockdowns are eased enough to generate some additional demand for oil products.

Capacity is filling fast on land and at sea. As that process continues it’s likely to bear down further on prices.

It will take a recovery in demand to really turn the market round and that will depend on how the health crisis unfolds.

There will be further supply cuts as private sector producers respond to the low prices, but it’s hard to see that being on a sufficient scale to have a fundamental impact on the market.

For US drivers, the decline in oil prices – which have fallen by about two-thirds since the start of the year – has had an impact at the pumps, albeit not as dramatic as Monday’s decline might suggest.

“The silver lining is, if you for various reason actually need to be on the roads, you’re filling up for far less than you would have been even four months ago,” Mr Glickman said. “The problem for most of us is even if you could fill up, where are you going to go?”

US President Donald Trump has said the government will buy oil for the country’s national reserve. But concern continues to mount that storage facilities in the US will run out of capacity, with stockpiles at Cushing, the main delivery point in the US for oil, rising almost 50% since the start of March, according to ANZ Bank.

Mr Innes said: “It’s a dump at all cost as no one, and I mean no one, wants delivery of oil with Cushing storage facilities filling by the minute.”

Price gouging a global problem

According to a recent Fin24 article, 11 firms are being investigated for selling products such as face masks and hand sanitisers at inflated prices amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced strict regulations to prevent businesses from hiking prices excessively for certain products – such as basic foods, personal care and hygiene products, as well as key medical supplies like surgical masks and gloves.

The firms will be investigated and, if necessary, prosecuted.

Penalties for flouting the regulations include:

  • R1 million in fine;
  • A fine of up to 10% of a company’s turnover; or
  • One year in jail.

An international problem

The problem of price gouging amid the Covid-19 crisis isn’t just a local one. The LA Times has reported that  Amazon has suspended more than 3 900 selling accounts in the US for violating its fair pricing policies.

This amounts to well over half a million offers, according to the online marketplace.
Amazon has subsequently deployed a team to identify and investigate “unfairly priced” products that are in high demand, such as protective masks and hand sanitiser.

Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody has issued more than 40 subpoenas because of alleged price gouging on “essential commodities” through accounts on Amazon.

Petrol price to drop by as much as 90c

Source: AA

Retreating oil prices have painted a rosier picture for South African fuel users than has been the case for much of 2019. This is according to the unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund.

At this stage of the month, we are predicting a decrease of 91 cents/litre to the petrol to the petrol price, 70 cents to the diesel price, and 62 cents to illuminating paraffin.

The story of the month is definitely oil. Crude laboured above $70 a barrel for large portions of April and May, as the tug-of-war continued between the OPEC countries, which favour ongoing output restrictions, and the USA, where production is steaming ahead. There had been a remarkable drop in the price of oil since the end of May, with the commodity currently trading around $61 dollars a barrel.

South Africans are not getting full value though, thanks to Rand jitters in the wake of the ANC top leadership trading jibes over the future of the Reserve Bank. After a period of sustained price stability, the Rand weakened substantially against the US dollar, taking some of the shine off oil’s retreat.

The expected price drops are nonetheless substantial, with petrol showing a 91 cent-a-litre drop at month end, with reductions of 70 cents and 62 cents respectively for diesel and illuminating paraffin.

If stability returns to the Rand and oil settles at its lower level, there might yet be more good news in the pipeline. A lot will rely on politicians exercising restraint in their public statements. We urge government to decide on its economic policy clearly and unambiguously in private, before articulating it in public where investors are watching.

Price comparison: DStv versus Netflix

Source: My Broadband

News website My Broadband has published an article indicating the price differential between online streaming service Netflix and satellite TV provider DStv.

The packages compared were the following:

  • Netflix Standard – R139 per month. This offers all content in full HD, which can be watched on two devices.
  • DStv Premium – R809 per month. This is DStv’s top package which offers all the base channels.

Other pricing elements which were taken into account are:

  • The first month of Netflix is free. One year’s cost is therefore 11 months’ subscription.
  • The DStv Premium price excludes the Access Fee of R90 per month. This provides access to PVR usage and DStv Now.

DStv versus Netflix

  • DStv Premium – R899 (Annual total: R10 788)
  • Netflix Standard – R139 (Annual total: R1 529)
  • Total Savings Annually – R9 259

Even if Internet is included, Netflix still comes out cheaper.

  • Netflix Standard + 10Mbps Fibre – R139 + R499 (Annual total: R7 517)
  • Total Savings Annually – R3 271

Record-breaking fuel price drop on the cards

By Tom Head for The South African

Has Santa Clause been listening to the South African public? A petrol price decrease of epic proportions is now certifiably on the cards for December, after the Central Energy Fund (CEF) released a new round of data.

Last week, we broke the news that the petrol price was likely to drop by more than R1.50 per litre. However, that figure may be nearer the R2 mark by the beginning of next month. Business Tech report that the rand’s gains against the dollar have propelled the costs into more affordable territory.

How much will the petrol price drop by?

All figures based on price per litre:

  • Petrol 95: R1.67
  • Petrol 93: R1.64
  • Diesel: R1.14
  • Illuminating Paraffin: R1.05

It’s been a hectic couple of months for the crude oil market, but one’s misfortune is another’s gain. The price for a barrel of oil has slumped to the $60 mark, compared with $85 in September. Donald Trump, this tweeter-in-chief, has even suggested oil prices could drop lower than this.

“The main driver of lower prices has been an accelerating decline in international oil prices, which have trended downwards since the beginning of this month,” said the Central Energy Fund in an official statement.

A perfect storm of positive factors for South Africa is leading us towards one of the most dramatic changes in monthly petrol prices ever seen in this country. It would be the ideal remedy to a year that has been infamous for soaring fuel costs, and October’s R1-per-litre increase.

It all makes for a pretty rosy picture heading into the end of 2018. Inland regions, such as Gauteng and Free State, will go from paying over R17 a litre to less than R15.50. Meanwhile, those near the coast will smash the R15 barrier altogether, as prices plummet even further.

What South Africans will pay for petrol in December 2018 – forecast:

  • Inland: R15.41
  • Coastal regions: R14.82

By Kaunda Selisho for The Citizen 

The nation will have to pull those belts a whole lot tighter with a projected increase of about R1.14 a litre of petrol.

There seems to be no end in sight for South Africa’s perpetual rise in fuel prices as the Central Energy Fund (CEF) has predicted yet another increase for the month of October.

The CEF report, released earlier this week, attributes the projected increase to a weaker rand and a higher international oil price.

The most recent hike was capped at 5c after government intervention but was dubbed a “once off” to provide citizens a short reprieve after sustained increases over five months in the lead-up to September.

According to the CEF’s calculations, early indicators estimate that the fuel price could rise by R1.14 a litre in October.

Fin24 calculated that the inland price of 95 octane petrol would rise to a possible record high of above R17 a litre, thus affecting food prices and transport costs.

Poor families starved by the price of food

By Sizwe Sama Yende for News24

Poor families have been cutting down on buying proper nutritious food by as much as 26%, and need another R1 062.38 a month to be able to afford it.

The August 2018 Household Affordability Index was compiled by NGO the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group. It is in response to the government-commissioned panel of experts’ report on VAT, released last week, in which additional items were recommended for zero-rating. Currently, 19 items are zero-rated for VAT.

The Pietermaritzburg organisation warns that families can no longer afford to eat properly and that no amount of “tinkering around the edges of our economic framework” is going to change this.

It wants all VAT charges to be removed from food in light of the price hikes that have occurred since government increased VAT from 14% to 15% in April.

“If there is a need to recover revenue from food, then it is better if it be recovered off luxury foods, which working class households do not buy and the wealthy do buy,” the organisation’s report found.

“Food is not a commodity. It is better for all of us if we are all able to eat properly and be healthy. Without proper nutrition none of our developmental outcomes will come to fruition. Our education outcomes will continue to be dire, our health sector will continue to collapse as more and more people get sick and – with very little money in the pockets of the majority of South Africans, and child stunting levels at 25% for girl children and at 30% for boy children under the age of five years – we can have no future workforce or political stability, or reasonable economic recovery.”

The VAT panel released its report to Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene on August 6. It recommended zero-rating white bread, bread flour, cake flour, sanitary products, school uniforms and nappies, including cloth and adult nappies.

The panel also recommended that government should expedite the provision of sanitary products to the poor and ensure that zero-rating did not benefit producers, but rather, accrued to consumers.

Other options

Julie Smith, a researcher at the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group, said the country faced a crisis of affordability and suggested options that could be explored if VAT remained the same.

“We are saying government must remove VAT completely. However, there are a number of options that should be looked into. The income levels are too low because of the legacy of apartheid and workers must be paid a living wage. The government can also look into how it can increase the old-age and child social grants,” she said.

“Another option is that government should look into how it reduces the cost of goods and services. Transport to work takes a huge percentage of household incomes. Can we have a way of reducing fuel prices and have a public transport system? In South Africa, transport is privately owned.”

The ever-increasing cost of electricity, said Smith, also had a direct impact on poor households. Zero-rated foods still had to be cooked. “Unless the cost of electricity is looked into, people may have food but they cannot cook because they cannot afford electricity.”

Families need R1 062.38 more a month to be able to afford nutritious food.

The index shows that the cost of foods in the household food basket, a basket designed with women living on low incomes, was R3 009.65. But the median wage for black South African households is R3 000.

The difference in cost between the foods which families living on low incomes try to buy each month, and the foods which families would like to buy and should buy to meet their basic nutritional needs, amounts to R1 062.38.

The food that families need to buy to meet basic nutrition costs R4 072.38 a month.

The situation is worse for families surviving on the R400 monthly child support grant because it is below the poverty line of R531 per person per month. Also, the child support grant is below the cost of a nutritious diet for a child aged between 10 and 13, which is R569.98.

VAT on the household food basket in August, the index found, was R215.77 – or 7.2% of the total household food basket.

“If white bread and cake flour are zero-rated in line with the panel’s recommendations, the savings on the household food basket would be R40.81 a month (R31.46 on 25 loaves of bread and R9.35 on 10kg of cake flour),” the report found.

“This would bring the cost of the household food basket down to R2 968.84 a month. This amount is almost equivalent to the median wage for a black South African household, and this is just food – not transport or any other critical household expenses.”
Removing VAT from peanut butter, an excellent source of protein and fats on children’s sandwiches, the organisation argues, is not going to send the economy into the ashes.

Neither will subsidising eggs, maas, brown bread and maize meal.

Nor will regulating the retailers and the prices on supermarket shelves.

“We are facing probably our greatest crisis, and we are still unable to conceptualise the problem within the broader political economy and deal with its cause. We cannot deal with our food affordability crisis by limiting analyses to losses to the fiscus and evaluating a few chosen goods and services within such a narrow framework of evaluation,” the report found.

“It is not useful to approach problems in isolation or by using the entry point of analysis as ‘whether we can afford this’ or ‘what will the loss to the fiscus be for us?’.”

Takealot guilty of “fake” prices

The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) has found Takealot guilty of selling products at higher prices than what it advertises the goods for.

In a recent sponsored Facebook promotion, Takealot advertised DKNY perfume at R369 – a saving of 62% on the normal price.

When a consumer tried to purchase this product, however, they had to pay over R200 more than the advertised price.

A complaint was lodged with the ASA regarding this practice after Takealot told the client it was “not responsible for advertising appearing on third-party platforms”.

According to the complainant, Takealot told her “its terms and conditions exempt it from liability emanating from its own advertising”.

Takealot responds
Takealot responded to the complaint, stating it is not an ASA member and that the organisation’s rulings are therefore not binding to it.

The online retailer did acknowledge that this was the third complaint of this type brought to the ASA.

It explained there “may be lags in bringing the pricing of third-party advertisers in line with price changes”.

“The product on special had sold out when the complainant claimed the deal, but the advertising had not been changed,” said Takealot.

ASA ruling
The ASA rejected Takealot’s argument that it was not responsible for advertisements from third-party advertisers.

“If Takealot uses third-party advertisers, then it must ensure that checks and balances are in place that such advertisers only display correct information,” said the ASA.

“The reality is that Takealot benefits from the traffic flow to its website and it must take responsibility for the actions of the third-party advertiser.”

The ASA subsequently rejected Takealot’s submission that its advertising is not misleading.

It said consumers are led to believe that advertised products at the discounted rates are available on Takealot, which they are not.

The complaint that Takealot’s advertisement promising a discounted price was misleading was upheld, and it advised the company not to repeat this advertising.

Source: MyBroadband 

  • 1
  • 2

Follow us on social media: 

               

View our magazine archives: 

                       


My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Top