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The United Arab Emirates said it would let domestic fuel prices move more freely in a politically sensitive reform that could save the government billions of dollars and begin reducing the wealthy country's love of gas-guzzling cars with big engines.
Gasoline and diesel will be deregulated from Aug. Matar al-Nyadi, undersecretary of the ministry and chairman of its new Gasoline and Diesel Prices Committee, told Reuters that gasoline prices might initially rise slightly because of the reform, while diesel would fall. At present, state subsidies keep gasoline and diesel in the Arab world's second biggest economy at some of the lowest prices in the world. Motorists pay 47 U.
Cutting subsidies and letting fuel prices rise could boost UAE state finances, which have been weakened by a plunge of oil export revenues since due to the fall in global crude prices. The ministry's statement did not give details of the new pricing policy, beyond saying the prices committee would announce on the 28th of each month prices for the following month, basing its decision on "average global prices with the addition of operating costs".
But linking UAE prices to global levels could clear the way for substantial hikes in the future, if Brent starts to recover. Mazroui said fuel price changes would not raise the UAE's cost of living significantly, while diesel's expected fall next month would help the economy.
The announcement put the UAE at the front of economic reform among the rich Gulf oil states. Other governments are grappling with similar financial pressures but have mostly not had the political will to push through major change. Kuwait raised its domestic diesel and kerosene prices in January but partially reversed the hikes a few weeks later after criticism by some members of parliament. Abu Dhabi, the biggest emirate in the UAE, hiked electricity and water tariffs in January as part of efforts to cut subsidies.
UAE energy ministry says to liberalise gasoline, diesel prices Gasoline and diesel prices will now be based on an average of global prices. Wed 22 Jul Subscribe to our Newsletter. Middle East air cargo volumes rise 7. Bahrain reveals size of giant oil reserve discovery 04 Apr Bahrain bars Danish MP from meeting jailed activist 04 Apr Google rolls out new search feature in the Middle East 04 Apr Bahrain announces biggest oil find since 01 Apr Trump to face lawsuit over DC hotel profits 29 Mar