MANILA, December 9, 2005
 (STAR) By Donnabelle L. Gatdula - The Independent Philippine Petroleum Companies Association (IPPCA) said it is likely that there would be no more price adjustments until the end of the year despite the recent rise in global crude prices.

Although crude prices recently went up again to $60 per barrel in the world market, IPPCA is not expecting any upward movement in local pump prices within the month," said Eastern Petroleum Corp. chairman Fernando Martinez, who is also chairman of IPPCA.

"It is better to have the status quo. I think the oil firms can still absorb any impact of the recent international oil price increases. We can still hold off (price adjustments)," Martinez said.

For his part, IPPCA president Glenn Yu noted that Dubai crude, the benchmark being used by oil refiners in pricing their products, has been rising over the past few days.

As of Dec. 1-6, the Dubai price average increased to $52.60 per barrel against Novemberís $51.39.

The increase was driven by US weather servicesí report that the US will experience unusual colder climate in the next two weeks.

"It will definitely have an impact on local prices but competitive pressures will still determine the domestic oil prices," Yu said.

The average Mean of Platts Singapore (MOPS) unleaded gasoline, the gauge used by oil importers, on the other hand, also rose to $59.94 from Novemberís $60.87.

Diesel in MOPS, meanwhile, dropped to $62.60 from Novemberís $64.82.

Yu said to date, the oil firms have not incurred additional costs because of the recent upward movement in oil prices abroad.

"We do not have under-recoveries as of the moment. But it will be the market that will determine the prices," he said.

Oil companies have implemented five oil price rollbacks starting Nov. 1 this year.

The price cuts came in time on the implementation of the expanded value-added tax (EVAT). The reduction in pump prices recently also cushioned the impact of the imposition of 10-percent VAT on all petroleum products.

But next year, the government will likely increase the VAT to 12 percent which will definitely hit oil consumers.

Total auto sales zoom 10.2% to 88,000 units in first 11 months By Marianne V. Go The Philippine Star 12/09/2005

The Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) reported that the official tally of automotive sales from January to November this year grew by 10.2 percent to 87,996 units as compared to sales of 79,858 in the same period last year.

Accounting for the overall increase in automotive sales was fleet sales as well as promotions and other marketing gimmicks by assemblers.

CAMPI and TMA said they are optimistic overall sales will increase further this month as companies take advantage of relatively better pricing. Commercial vehicle sales in 11 months this year grew 12 percent, with 55,571 units as compared with 49,707 units sold for the comparable period last year.

The growth in commercial vehicle sales was attributed by the CAMPI and TMA to sustained new model sales from the pickup and compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) segments and sales promotions.

Passenger car sales for the period in review posted a 7.5 percent growth with total sales of 32,425 units as against only 30,151 units 2004.

The increase in passenger car saleswas due to the introduction of new models, continued aggressive marketing and financing promos.

Asian utility vehicle (AUV) sales for the period in review continued to post a healthy growth of 16.2 percent with 24,005 units sold as compared to 20,656 units sold for the same 11-month period last year.

Sales of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) from January to November this year reached to 29,505 units, a growth of nine percent compared to the 27,061 units sold last year.

Light truck sales, on the other hand, went down by three percent with only 1,438 units as compared to 1,484 units sold for the comparable period last year.

Truck sales, however, showed a 23 percent growth with 623 units sold for the period in review compared to only 506 units sold in 2004.

Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. still dominated the market with sales of 31.933 units, cornering 36.30 percent of the market.

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. retained second slot with sales of 11,997 units, accounting for 13.6 perdent of the automotive market.

Honda Cars Philippines Inc. took third place with sales of 8,852 units for a market share of 10.1 percent, easing out Isuzu which slid to fourth place with sales of 8,653 units and a market share of 9.8 percent.

At fifth place was Ford Motors Philippines with sales of 7,618 units and a market share of 8.7 percent.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved