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NEW DELHI: Oil marketing companies (OMCs) on Wednesday continued with the hike in prices of transportation fuel, raising petrol and diesel rates by 35 paise a litre and 25 paise, respectively, in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR).

Retail prices of petrol hit a new record high of 87.60 per litre in Delhi, while diesel prices retailed at 77.73 a litre in the national capital. In Mumbai too, petrol and diesel were being sold at a record high at 94.12 a litre and 84.63 a litre, respectively.

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Having held rates steady for 29 days, OMCs had been increasing auto fuel prices since early January.

This comes in the backdrop of the cost of the Indian basket of crude, which comprises Oman, Dubai and Brent crude, at $59.78 a barrel on 8 February. The benchmark Brent crude was at $61 per barrel in early trade on Wednesday, and the West Texas Intermediate was at $58.21 a barrel at the time of writing this story.

India, the third-largest oil importer globally, is vulnerable to any increase in global prices as they can affect its import bill, stoke inflation and increase its trade deficit. Every dollar increase in the price of oil raises India’s import bill by 10,700 crore on an annualized basis. India spent $101.4 billion on crude oil imports in 2019-20 and $111.9 billion in 2018-19.

Following the covid outbreak, crude prices for Indian basket of crude had plunged to $19.90 in April before recovering to $49.84 a barrel in December, data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell showed. It averaged at $56.43, $69.88 and $60.47 per barrel in FY18, FY19 and FY20, respectively.

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