ECONOMY

Sales jump as heating oil prices fall

The price of heating oil has gone down to 62 cents per liter for recipients of the state subsidy to the commodity, a level unseen in the domestic market since 2009, which has resulted in soaring demand after its 70 percent decline over the last couple of years.

The retail price without the heating oil benefit amounts to an average of 1 euros per liter, which is 5 percent lower than the starting rate of 1.05-1.06 euros/lt when the legal period for the sale of heating oil began on October 15.

The low prices are the result of the unusually rapid decline in global crude oil rates after the decision by oil exporting countries last Thursday against increasing their daily output and the emerging trend for a further drop in prices below $70 per barrel. The 2015 budget presupposes an average rate of $99.36.

Local market demand for heating oil showed a 25 percent year-on-year rise in November, according to industry professionals, beating even the most optimistic expectations.

The decline in the cost of oil imports could even tip the trade balance, given that oil accounts for 52 percent of the value of imports, which may well drop to between 25 and 30 percent.