Petrol price cut likely as oil retailers show healthy books

State-run fuel retailers could cut retail prices of petrol by about two rupees a litre from next month if global oil prices and the rupee stabilise at current levels, S Roy Choudhury, chairman of Hindustan Petroleum Corp, told newspersons in Delhi. The retailers are scheduled to review retail petrol prices on 31 May.

The announcement comes as all the three fuel retailers showed good results, despite the fear of fuel subsidies causing losses. HPCL's fourth-quarter net profit jumped to Rs4,631 crore, more than four times its earnings a year ago.

IndianOil, which reported an over-three-fold jump in fourth-quarter net profit to 12,670 crore, is also keen to pass on the benefit of lower international prices to customers.

IOC Chairman R S Butola said, "We will pass on the entire benefit to consumers. I would like to pass on 50 paise, 70 paise or 90 paise, whatever we gain, to consumers in the next pricing cycle."

Indian oil companies had last week raised retail petrol prices by a sharp Rs6.28 a litre excluding taxes, translating to a hike of Rs7.54 a litre at the retail level.

To soften the blow of the steep rise, many states including Delhi have reduced local taxes on the increased component, restricting the rise to Rs6.28 a litre.