'Diesel demand strikingly increasing'

HARARE - Diesel demand has been strikingly increasing over the last few months, a leading financial research firm has said.

The government has said the gain is due to regional truckers taking advantage of the lower cost of fuel in Zimbabwe relative to the region when the RTGS to USD parallel exchange rate is factored.

Equity Axis, however, said it is important to note that crude prices have almost doubled on the international markets and this could have had a significant impact on the imports value of both diesel and petrol.

“Energy demand broadly remains high,” the financial research firm said. “Our view is that the import structure is largely in shape with minimal excesses and should cautiously be managed rather than aggressively suppressed. Suppression through substitution should be systematic and should follow market principles with little inclination to controls where necessary.

“The only sustainable way of managing Zimbabwe’s external trade position in our view is through increased local production and exports. However, to spur production, companies need competitive and affordable capital to retool as well as viable utility costs.”

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