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Small mercy on way for motorists as petrol drops 2c a litre

HARD-PRESSED motorists were finally promised some relief this weekend, as falling world oil prices are passed on in 2c-a-litre cuts at the pump.

The Irish Petrol Retailers Association said the price of petrol would come down over the weekend thanks to sharp drops in global oil prices in the last two days.

"The good news is that global oil markets fell sharply yesterday responding to real concerns that the elevated price of oil was curbing oil demand and hampering the economic recovery," said association spokesman David Blevings.

Retailers set their own prices, but they had no control over wholesale costs, which had significantly increased over the last year, he said.

"Local competitive pressures ensure price movements on the international market are offered quickly to consumers in order to retain their custom," he said.

"The recent news will be welcomed by consumers who will see a reduction feed through to the pumps over the weekend."

Prices at the pumps remained stubbornly high yesterday, with prices as high as €1.58 at some garages, and the average price over €1.52.

However, this weekend petrol is expected to fall by around 2c per litre as garages restock, with a further fall likely in the middle of next week.

Global oil prices continued to tumble yesterday, with the price of Brent crude oil falling to $108.40 (€75), down from $125 (€87) earlier in the week.

However many analysts warned the sudden slump in oil prices could be short-lived.

"The scale of the price slump is exaggerated ... and primarily due to the abrupt change of sentiment of speculative investors," said analysts at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

"The fundamental situation has not changed sharply enough to justify the huge price discounts."

Some experts expect oil to resume its rise as political unrest in the Middle East and north Africa could spread and threaten crude supplies in the oil-rich region.

Irish Independent