DUSHANBE, August 16, Asia-Plus - Gasoline prices are continuing to rise in Tajikistan. 

According to information from Tajikistan’s antimonopoly commission, local experts expect gasoline prices to rise by further 5 percent in Tajikistan next month following rising exchange rate of USD and world fuel market trends.   

The source in the Antimonopoly Committee has told Asia-Plus that since the beginning of the year, prices of gasoline imported to the republic have increased by US$40-US$60 and amounted to US$460-US$490 per ton.  “Increase in the gasoline prices was reported last year already, when by last September fuel prices had risen by US$100 and amounted to US$384 per ton,” said the source, “And fuel prices are continuing to rise.”  

According to the Asia-Plus interlocutor, the situation may become complicated after Kazakhstan will put ban on export of fuel in connection with harvest season.  Kazakhstan introduces this measure annually for the purpose stabilizing the fuel prices on its domestic market.   

The source says Tajik fuel suppliers consider the possibility of raising gasoline prices up to 3.00 Somonis (equivalent to US$0.88), depending on its grade.  “The antimonopoly commission has demanded that that the price hike should be substantiated, and Tajik suppliers of oil product should produce weighty arguments for raising the gasoline prices,” the Asia-Plus interlocutor said.  

 The country’s antimonopoly agency cannot regulate prices of fuel imported to the country because none of Tajik fuel suppliers is recognized as dominating entity in terms of fuel supplies.  Only in the event if any fuel-supplying company assumes a 35-percent share on the country’s market it will be put on a list of dominating entities of Tajikistan and it will be obliged to coordinate all its actions with the antimonopoly commission.  “The only thing we can do legally it is to demand from them documents stating the fuel supplier and prices at which the fuel was purchased, and proceeding from these documents to make conclusion to what extent their actions are legal,” the source said.      

According to information from the Ministry of Economy and Trade, over the past month, the price of 96-octane gasoline, which had averaged 2.10 Somonis a liter, has risen to 2.4 Somonis, with similar price rises in other regions of the country.  The price of one liter of 95-octane gasoline in Dushanbe has risen from 2.00 Somonis to 2.3 Somonis, and one liter of 80-octane gasoline has risen from 1.80 Somonis to 2.00 Somonis.  

Experts from the Ministry of Economy and Trade say the price hike has resulted from rising cost of fuel on the world market, in particular from rising cost of petroleum products in Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, which provide the bulk of Tajikistan’s fuel imports.  Kazakhstan accounts for 40.7 percent of gasoline imported to Tajikistan, Russia – 23.4 percent, and Turkmenistan – 15.3 percent.    

In January-June 2006, Tajikistan has imported totaling over 170,000 tons oil products for a total amount of more than US$80 million.  The totaled included 82,000 toms of gasoline for more than US$35 million.