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When the Markets Don't Rule

Control of Vietnamese gas prices crippling suppliers...

Petroleum importers in Vietnam are racking up multi-million dollar losses as their retail prices remain fixed while global oil prices spiral.

Nine importers have been estimated to suffer total losses of $76 million in the first three months of the year, pushing some to the brink of bankruptcy unless the Government provides adequate compensation.

Viet Nam's importers said at current import prices and with their retail prices fixed at VND5,600-6,000 per litre, they were losing from VND350 to VND500 per litre.

The Government restricted oil imports to nine enterprises and fixed retail prices on March 1 in a bid to control the local supply.

Experts have said that compensation is unlikely. The Ministry of Finance claimed a deficit of $69 million in taxes after the tariff cuts on petrol and gasoline earlier this year.