OPINION

Fueling speculation

As if the irrational and unjustified increases in the prices of basic consumer goods (introduced along with the «reformist» policies of Costas Simitis’s PASOK administration and which the current government also appears unable to tackle) were not enough, we now have to endure the worrying implications of recent steep rises in oil prices. These increases have fueled fears of even greater price hikes across the spectrum of consumer goods and services in Greece. Indeed, despite the ostensibly optimistic forecasts of Economy Ministry officials that «the phenomenon is a transitory one,» more serious government ministers are fearful of the surge in oil prices and the likely pressure this will exert on inflation levels (which are already high) and the subsequent wave of price rises. The hefty increase in crude oil prices on international markets effectively served as an excuse for Greek gas stations to jack up their fuel prices – a fact which reveals a very worrying lack of control over fuel retail traders in our country and provides another example of complacency at the top levels of our society. After all, it is hardly logical for gas station operators to raise their retail prices before they have even received delivery of the more expensive fuel (a process which usually takes 45 days).