South Africa’s petrol prices are the highest they have ever been, having hit R14.49 and R14.76 for a litre of 93 and 95 octane petrol in December 2017.
The last ‘highest point’ for the fuel price was hit in April 2014, when the prices of 93 and 95 octane petrol hit R14.16 and R14.39 respectively.
For diesel, things are little different. While, at a wholesale price of R12.96, it is at one of its highest points, it is still 15 cents off from its record – R13.11 – which it reached in March 2014.
South Africans are paying R1.90 more for petrol in December 2017 than they were a year ago, thanks to a weaker rand, while oil prices have continued to rise.
The 71 cents increase in December marked a fifth consecutive month of hikes, while analysts predict further increases in 2018.
Between August and December 2017, the consecutive increases added R1.86 to the fuel price alone.
On a price basis, South Africa is still far from having the most expensive fuel in the world – however, recent data from Bloomberg found that when taking into account the percent of the average annual salary spent on petrol in the country, South Africa is the second least affordable nation for fuel, beaten only by Mexico.
As South Africa’s economy continues to take the strain, with a credit rating cut to full junk from Moody’s looming in the new year, and no real plan of action from government to pull the country out of a low-growth, high unemployment environment, expectations are that further fuel price pain awaits.
Early indications in December by the Central Energy Fund shows an under-recovery of between 18 and 21 cents in the various fuel prices – meaning a 20 cent hike is likely in January 2018.