Gasoline shortages have been occurring only in a few southern locations and the country has adequate reserves to fully meet demand, the industry ministry has assured.
Shortages are only reported by small distributors who want to hold on to their stocks to push prices up, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said at a meeting Tuesday.
“We have reserves to ensure supply for 20 days of consumption as regulations require.”
Major distributors (who account for over 90 percent of market share) have been selling routinely since before the Lunar New Year holidays (January 29-February 6), he said.
Many gas stations in An Giang, Dong Nai and Hau Giang provinces closed down in recent days complaining of lack of supply.
Some also stopped selling because rising prices are forcing them to sell at a loss.
They are not allowed to increase retail prices on their own and authorities usually make price changes on the 1st, 11th or 21st of a month.
But since February 1 was a holiday, the next price change is not likely until Friday.
The country’s biggest refinery, Nghi Son in the central province of Thanh Hoa, had to cut down production from 105 percent of capacity to 80 percent last month due to a cash crunch.
Vietnam produces around 75 percent of its fuel requirements, with Nghi Son accounting for 35 percent, and imports the rest.
Phan Thi Thang, deputy chairwoman of the HCMC People’s Committee, said some gas stations in the city too had closed down temporarily due to lack of supply, but reopened, and as of Tuesday only two out of 548 were closed but for other reasons.
Major distributors in the city have assured they have enough inventory to last 40-60 days, she said.
The city has ordered all distributors to import more to ensure reserves that would meet at least 30 days of demand, she added.
Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh has instructed the trade ministry to be more proactive in regulating gas supply to ensure there are no shortages.
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