Mexico says energy price hikes over for 2015
By David Alire Garcia
MEXICO CITY Jan 2 (Reuters) - Mexico's government said on Friday that its latest "gasolinazo," or gasoline price spike, will be the only increase this year.
The fuel price hike in the world's 10th biggest crude producer comes as slumping international oil prices have led to dramatically shrinking gasoline and diesel costs in countries where market forces determine prices, such as the United States.
The finance ministry's announcement that prices would remain stable in 2015 follows government-set fuel and power price hikes announced quietly on Thursday, both at about 2 percent, which will hit nearly all motorists and residential power users.
Mexico's government determines fuel prices and will continue to do so until a sweeping energy reform finalized last year opens up the retail fuel market in 2017.
The new government-set maximum price for the top-selling gasoline grade sold by state-owned oil company Pemex is about $3.46 per gallon, or 1.9 percent up from December.
That compares to an average of about $2.30 per gallon in the United States, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), or about one third more expensive.
Meanwhile, the residential electricity rate faced by more than 9 out of 10 Mexicans rose 2.1 percent on New Year's Day to about $0.0546 per kilowatt/hour (k/h).
Like fuel, power rates in Mexico are set by the government, which said the Jan. 1 hike would also be the only one in 2015. Continuación...