(Adds LIOC price increase)
By Ranga Sirilal
COLOMBO, May 10 (Reuters) - State-run Sri Lankan fuel retailer Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) will raise retail prices for gasoline and diesel from midnight on Thursday in repsonse to rising oil prices, a government spokesman said.
CPC, which has about two thirds of the country’s retail fuel market, will increase the price of gasoline by 20 rupees to 137 rupees a litre. Diesel rises by 14 rupees to 109 rupees and kerosene oil will rise by 57 rupees to 101 rupees.
The move follows that of Lanka IOC, the only other fuel retailer in Sri Lanka, which raised its prices in March.
The subsidiary of Indian Oil Corp announced another increase on Thursday, lifting its gasoline price to 137 rupees, on par with the CPC price, and diesel to 111 rupees, higher than the CPC price.
Lanka IOC had first raised prices on March 24 after a cumulative loss of 1.3 billion rupees ($8.2 million) in the previous four quarters.
CPC had been under pressure to increase its prices after incurring a loss of 9.9 billion rupees ($64 million) in the first two months of the year because of rising oil prices.
“After a long discussion, we decided to revise the prices after evaluating the global oil price increase,” Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne told reporters in Colombo, adding that the increase will help to reduce CPC’s losses.
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the cabinet approved the price formula with revisions every two months.
The government cut petrol prices in January 2015 after President Maithripala Sirisena was voted into office. It has not increased prices since then, fearing unpopularity among voters.
Under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to boost revenue, Sri Lanka’s government increased excise duty on diesel by 10 rupees to 13 rupees per litre from August last year but asked fuel retailers not to pass on the cost to consumers. ($1 = 157.7000 Sri Lankan rupees)
Reporting by Ranga Sirilal Writing by Shihar Aneez Editing by Susan Fenton and David Goodman