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Japan gasoline prices expected to hit record highs in November.

TOKYO, Oct. 17 Kyodo

Nippon Oil Corp. Chairman Fumiaki Watari on Wednesday hinted at his firm's plan to raise wholesale prices of gasoline in November on recent crude oil price hikes, increasing the likelihood that gasoline retail prices in Japan will hit record highs in the month.

Watari, also chairman of the Petroleum Association of Japan, said the recent crude oil price hike may push up Japanese oil refiners' crude procurement costs in November by 4.80 yen per liter from October.

Nippon Oil is expected to increase November wholesale prices by 5 to 6 yen per liter for gasoline and other petroleum products in November. Other oil refiners may follow suit.

If these wholesale price hikes are passed on to retail prices, Japan's average regular gasoline retail price would exceed August's 145.40 yen per liter, the highest level since the Oil Information Center began to survey gasoline retail prices in 1987.

The center said the average retail price as of Monday rose by 0.2 yen from early last week to 144.90 yen for the third straight weekly hike. But it said the average is unlikely to top the August high within this month, since retail prices dropped on fierce competition in some regions.

The average retail price on Monday rose by 0.1 yen to 155.7 yen per liter for premium gasoline and by 0.2 yen to 123 yen for diesel oil.

The benchmark crude oil futures rose above $88 per barrel in New York on Tuesday for the first time ever. Watari said the price could hover around $80 in the near future.
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Publication:Japan Energy Scan
Date:Oct 20, 2007
Words:270
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