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India to decide on diesel, LPG price hike in a few weeks: oil secy

Reuters  New Delhi, September 12, 2013
First Published: 13:57 IST(12/9/2013) | Last Updated: 14:02 IST(12/9/2013)

India will decide on raising the retail prices of diesel and cooking gas (LPG) in a few weeks, oil secretary Vivek Rae said on Thursday, in a bid to cut the biggest item in its import bill and support the rupee.


India, the world's fourth-biggest oil consumer, is considering a Rs. 3 to Rs. 5 hike in the price of diesel, which accounts for more than 40% of fuel use, government officials said last week, as the country looks to cut import costs by nearly $20 billion to trim a record current account deficit.

A recent sharp recovery in the rupee, which had hit a record low of 68.85 to the dollar on August 28, and a fall in global crude prices following an easing of geopolitical tensions -- with an attack on Syria appearing less imminent -- have taken off some pressure from the government finances, Rae said.

Fuel price rises generally provoke stiff resistance from opposition parties, and any increase now is expected to draw a bigger protest as India approaches a general election. The election must be held by May 2014.

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