The impact of the new Covid-19 coronavirus on the international oil price market is the reason given by the Autoridad Regulador de los Servicios Públicos (Aresep) – Public Services Regulatory Authority – approving a reduction in the price of fuels in Costa Rica.
The reduction will be ¢39 colones for super gasoline, ¢40 for regular or plus and ¢63 colones a liter for diesel fuel.
The new prices at the pumps, when the drop takes effect, will be ¢606 for a liter of super (down from the current ¢645); ¢583 for regular or plus (down from ¢645); and ¢583 for diesel (down from the current ¢623).
The Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo (Recope) made its monthly request on February 14.
The Aresep decision of last Friday (February 28) now requires publishing in the official government newsletter, La Gaceta, within 5 business days, meaning the drop at pumps will be in effect before the weekend.
On February 14, Recope explained in a statement that the collapse of Chinese oil consumption has impacted the international market and crude oil imports have slowed.
Oil shipments from Latin America to China slowed and imports from the West – a traditional source for Chinese refineries – have been lower than usual to the point of falling almost 20% per day.
The fall, Recope explained, is probably the biggest demand blow the oil market has suffered since the global financial crisis in 2008 and the most sudden since the attacks of September 11.
In less than two weeks, on March 13, Recope must submit to the Aresep a new application for rate adjustment according to the current pricing methodology. That eventual adjustment would take effect at the end of March or beginning of April.
The Aresep approval also includes a price drop in other fuels, ie natural gas, aviation fuel, etc.
Fuel prices in Costa Rica are regulated.