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There is no end to the cruelty towards citizens, in Albania the price of oil remains in the stratosphere even though the value of a barrel of "black gold" has decreased by 7 dollars in the international stock markets, experts raise the alarm
Written by Sidorela BRAÇJA 7 Dhjetor 2023
There is no end to abuses and theft against Albanians as far as fuel prices are concerned. Albania has more expensive fuel prices than countries in the region and those in the world, even though the price of oil has decreased in international markets by about 20% over the last 2 months. More specifically, at the beginning of this week, Brent oil traded at the limit of $78 per barrel, falling by nearly 18% compared to the price per barrel in September, which was $96.55. Concretely, on Monday, gasoil on the London Stock Exchange was traded at the price of about 793 USD per ton, this value is significantly lower than the level of two months ago, which was almost 1000 USD/ton. While retail prices in Europe and international markets have followed the trend of the stock market, it seems that the opposite is happening in Albania, where the retail price at gas stations in Albania continues to remain unchanged and very close to the level of 200 lek per liter . Even the strengthening of the lek against the dollar in recent days has not brought down prices. At the beginning of this week, the US dollar was exchanged at 93.6 ALL, falling 7% from the value at the beginning of November. The fuel market has a high dependence on imports. Figures analyzed by the Competition Authority show that three companies in the country own 75% of the wholesale oil market. Meanwhile, from a study by Global Petrol Prices, Albania is ranked 5th in the world for the most expensive oil price, where a liter of diesel costs 197 ALL, 73 ALL more expensive than the average price in the world.
Who is abusing "at the expense" of the citizens?
But while in Albania the price of oil remains unchanged and for this reason, experts raise doubts that in our country, traders operate as a cartel. "From the moment the transparency board gave up, it became a concentration or wholesale and retail oil trading company, a form of cartel is being formed and this is more than evident. The difference in prices from one company to another has almost completely disappeared", declared the economic expert, Klodian Muço. Also, Muço emphasized that oil distributors in Albania predetermine prices, thus harming free competition in the market. "If in the past there was a difference from 1 Lek to 10 Lek from one distributor to another, today these differences no longer exist. They abuse traders, whether they belong to the majority or the minority," he said. We recall that the Competition Authority, in a study of the industry in 2022, found almost no irregularities in the oil distribution chain, while this sector, according to experts, is owned by three large companies in the country. Meanwhile, experts appeal for increased monitoring. "The competition authority must monitor this phenomenon. How is it possible that the prices in the international markets are falling, the dollar has depreciated against our local currency and the prices in the market remain almost the same. When we have a downward trend, the prices in the Albanian market react very late, while when they rise, the prices in the country react almost immediately", underlined Klodian Muço.