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Sunday, 5 December 2021

Butane gas for home use rises in price nearly 8%

Gas cylinders just got a little pricier: The Oil Ministry hiked butane gas cylinder prices by 7.7%, reaching EGP 70 for household cylinders (from EGP 65) and EGP 140 (from EGP 130) for commercial consumption, Al Masry Al Youm reports, citing an unnamed source. The price hike, which came into effect yesterday, was driven largely by the surge in Brent crude prices — hitting three-year highs on the back of post-pandemic demand outstripping supply — over the past few months, according to sources from the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation cited by Amwal Al Ghad.

Egypt imports 55% of its butane gas needs, making it more susceptible to global price fluctuations, Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi said last night (watch, runtime: 5:59). The price increases are marginal enough that households will not feel a significant impact, but cafes and restaurants, whose prices are not regulated, could use the increase to introduce exaggerated markups, former head of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce’s petroleum materials division Hossam Arafat said in a phone-in with El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 5:38). Ala Mas’ouleety’s Ahmed Moussa also took note of the decision (watch, runtime: 10:27).

This is the latest in a series of gas price hikes this year, but butane is still heavily subsidized: The government decided earlier this year to continue subsidizing butane gas cylinders through the current fiscal year, cutting the cost of their production by half. Natural gas prices for industries, meanwhile, rose 28% last month, and fuel prices were hiked three times this year. Under an automatic fuel pricing mechanism, the government reviews local prices of petroleum products every quarter, with the next meeting scheduled for the end of December.

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