Darwin and Hobart petrol prices highest in 3½ yearsWeekly Petrol prices
Petrol: According to the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the national average Australian price of unleaded petrol fell by 4.3 cents to 145.5 cents a litre in the past week. It was the second largest weekly decline in prices this year. Prices fell by 4.5 cents in the week ending June 10.
Hobart and Darwin petrol prices surge: The weekly average price of unleaded petrol rose by 0.2 cents to 158.3 cents a litre in Hobart – the highest level in 3½ years. And in Darwin prices rose by 0.7 cents to 156.7 cents a litre last week – also a 3½-year high.
What does it all mean?
From the top to the bottom of Australia unleaded petrol prices remain high. Motorists in the Top End and Apple Isle are experiencing the highest petrol prices in around 3½ years. Pump prices are just short of $1.60 a litre, squeezing household budgets in Hobart and Darwin.
Elsewhere, the pump pain has eased for motorists along the eastern seaboard. In Sydney, unleaded petrol prices are the lowest in three months. The timing couldn’t be better with NSW public schools starting holidays today. Pump prices in Melbourne and Brisbane are also falling.
Sydneysiders are encouraged to fill-up their cars in the next day or two. According to independent online motoring research company, MotorMouth, the retail petrol price discounting cycle is into its 20th day. Prices are expected to lift by the weekend. The discounting cycle is still in operation in Melbourne – into its 16 th day and 13th day in Brisbane.
Global crude oil prices declined from 3½-year highs last week. The Brent crude oil price fell by 2.9 per cent to US$77.11 a barrel and the US Nymex declined by 0.5 per cent to U $73.80 a barrel. And the key Singapore gasoline price fell by 0.4 per cent to US$83.65 a barrel last week.
The continued supply outage at Canada’s Syncrude oil sands facility provided support for US crude prices, but the number of oil rigs drilling for crude lifted by 5 to 863 last week according to Baker Hughes, temporarily easing supply disruption concerns. 
Brent crude oil prices fell after Saudi Arabia increased oil production by 458,000 barrels per day in June, according to OPEC. Russian output also lifted to 11.19 million barrels per day at the beginning of July, up from 11.06 million barrels in June.
What do the figures show?Petrol prices
According to the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the national average Australian price of unleaded petrol fell by 4.3 cents to 145.5 cents a litre in the past week. It was the second largest weekly decline in prices this year. Prices fell by 4.5 cents in the week ending June 10.
The metropolitan petrol price fell by 5.6 cents to 143.3 cents per litre and the regional price fell by 1.8 cents to 149.9 cents per litre. The gross retail margin fell by 0.4 cents to 14.58 cents.
Average unleaded petrol prices across states and territories over the past week were: Sydney (down by 8.1 cents to 136.7 c/l), Melbourne (down by 8.7 cents to 144.0 c/l), Brisbane (down by 11.2 cents to 145.2 c/l), Adelaide (up by 13.0 cents to 144.4 c/l), Perth (down by 0.2 cents to 146.6 c/l), Darwin (up by 0.7 cents to 156.7 c/l), Canberra (flat at 155.0c/l) and Hobart (up by 0.2 cents to 158.3c/l).
Today, the national average wholesale (terminal gate) unleaded petrol price stands at a 133.3 cents a litre, up by 1.4 cents over the week. The terminal gate diesel price stands at 137.3 cents a litre, up by 1.2 cents over the past week.
The national average diesel petrol price fell by 0.4 cents to 153.7 cents a litre over the week. The metropolitan price fell by 0.6 cents to 154.2 cents a litre with the regional price down 0.2 cents to 153.3 cents a litre.
Last week the key Singapore gasoline price fell by US35 cents or 0.4 per cent to US$83.65 a barrel. In Australian dollar terms, the Singapore gasoline price fell by 73 cents or 0.7 per cent last week to $112.92 a barrel or 71.02 cents a litre.
MotorMouth records the following average retail prices for capital cities today: Sydney 134.2c; Melbourne 139.2c; Brisbane 138.5c; Adelaide 156.9c; Perth 136.0c; Canberra 155.0c; Darwin 157.3c; Hobart 158.4c.
What is the importance of the economic data?
Weekly figures on petrol prices are compiled by ORIMA Research on behalf of the Australian Institute of Petroleum (AIP). National average retail prices are calculated as the weighted average of each State/Territory’s metropolitan and non-metropolitan retail petrol prices, with the weights based on the number of registered petrol vehicles in each of these regions. AIP data for retail petrol prices is based on available market data supplied by MotorMouth.
What are the implications for interest rates and investors?
In a welcome development for Aussie households, petrol prices fell last week. But declines were limited to a handful of capital cities – Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Perth prices fell a smidgen. Canberra prices were flat.
Pump prices rose sharply in Adelaide as the petrol price discounting cycle ended. Prices are the highest in Hobart and Darwin since the second half of 2014.
Global crude oil prices finally fell as OPEC production began to lift following the agreement to increase output by around 1 million barrels per day on June 22. Saudi Arabia and Russia are playing their part, but geo-political tensions and outages continue to disrupt broader supply.
Two major monthly oil market reports are released this week, which could impact crude prices. On Wednesday, OPEC will provide its monthly market update.
And the International Energy Agency will release its report the next day. Much of the focus will be on potential US sanctions on Iran, Venezuela’s falling output and worries that China may slap tariffs on US oil products and crude oil as trade tensions escalate.
CommSec expects official interest rates to be stable until early 2019.
Published by Ryan Felsman, Senior Economist, CommSec