New Delhi: Petro product prices may not be hiked until next week and consumers can thank visiting foreign dignitaries and Petroleum Minister Murli Deora for the reprieve.
The meeting of a Group of Ministers that was to happen today has been deferred due to the visit of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and may not happen later this week as French President Nicolas Sarkozy would be arriving here.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who heads the GoM, is expected to be busy with their visits.
Besides, Deora, who is now in Mumbai, would be leaving for London tomorrow for a roadshow to auction oil and gas blocks under the NELP-VII programme. He is expected back on 27 January, which happens to be a Sunday.
The GoM met on 17 January but did not arrive at any decision due to the absence of two of the ministers.
During the last Thursday meeting, the GoM had deliberated on four sets of options for fuel price hike, which was to be clubbed with duty restructuring to limit the impact of rising global crude oil prices on state-run oil marketing firms.
State firms currently loses Rs10.6 a litre on petrol, Rs11.6 per litre on diesel, Rs331.4 per LPG cylinder and Rs19.89 a litre on PDS kerosene.
Petrol and diesel prices were last raised in June 2006 when crude oil was at $67 a barrel. LPG prices were last raised by Rs20 per cylinder in November 2004 when crude was at $34 a barrel. Kerosene prices have not been changed since 2002 when crude was at $23 per barrel.
Crude oil prices have fallen from their peak of $100 a barrel on 2 January to around $90 a barrel in the international market.