Brent crude prices skyrocketed to a 14-year high of nearly $140 a barrel in Asia trading on Monday amid speculation that the US is likely to ban oil imports from Russia.
The global oil benchmark jumped to above $139 a barrel, before easing to around $130.
This comes a day after U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House is "exploring strong legislation” to ban import of oil from Russia. "Our bill would ban the import of Russian oil and energy products into the United States, repeal normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, and take the first step to deny Russia access to the World Trade Organization," she said in a note to lawmakers.
In India, state-run oil marketing companies have yet to hike retail prices of petrol and diesel amid legislative assembly polls in key states like Uttar Pradesh. The informal freeze on fuel prices is expected to continue till the last ballot is cast on March 7.
High crude oil prices can cost the government around ₹1 lakh crore in the next financial year if the Centre continues to levy the reduced excise duty on petrol and diesel, according to a report by SBI Research. The report further said that if crude oil prices are at an average of $100/bbl., inflation is likely to increase by 52-65 basis points. Every $10/bbl increase in Brent crude price will lead to increase in inflation by 20-25 bps, it added.
The steep rise in commodity prices is expected to severely impact India's current account deficit and domestic inflation. The country imports around 85% of its annual oil requirement.
Petrol and diesel prices need a massive price hike of up to ₹15.1 per litre by March 16 after being frozen for an unprecedented 120 days, estimated a recent analyst by ICICI Securities. The report had projected that oil marketing companies need to hike prices of transportation fuels by ₹12.1 per litre on or before March 16 just to break even, and ₹15.1 litre to manage a net margin of ₹2.5 per litre.
Indian refiners like Reliance Industries (RIL), Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp will have to cough up more to buy the expensive crude. Meanwhile, the high price scenario will help exploration and production companies like ONGC and Cairn India to bulk up their bottom line.
This comes as the Indian rupee slumped to a record low of nearly 77 per dollar on Monday amid a spike in crude prices. The rupee fell 81 paise to 76.98 against the US dollar in opening deals as the Russia-Ukraine war aided demand for the greenback.