As if the current unrelenting economic pinch was not enough, South African consumers woke up to higher fuel prices at the pumps on Wednesday.According to data released by the country’s Central Energy Fund, the petrol price has risen by nine cents per litre, diesel has been hiked by 13 cents per litre and paraffin has gone up by eight cents per litre.
Confirming the development, the Department of Energy said the new fuel prices came into effect at midnight due to a steep downturn in economic growth which has impacted the foreign exchange rate and the impending carbon tax set for introduction on 10 June.
South Africa, the continent’s most industrialised country, imports most of its hydrocarbon products like petrol, diesel and paraffin.
The South African economy has been facing turbulence since the beginning of the year, registering a negative growth of 3.2% since the first quarter, Statistics South Africa said on Tuesday.
This negative growth, in turn, has weakened the local rand currency’s defences, which will undoubtedly result in further economic instability – particularly pertaining to the cost of crude oil, economic analysts said.
According to the analysts, increases in the price of diesel are especially daunting for the economy – particularly in light of the recent GDP report which noted an epic nosedive in the agriculture sector.