Rising dollar guards petrol pump: Commsec

Christian Edwards
(Australian Associated Press)

A rising Australian dollar should protect motorists against any nasty surprises at the pump, according to the latest research by CommSec.

With the Australian dollar staring down 80 US cents for the first time in more than two years, a resurgent local currency can act as a buffer between Aussie motorists and a volatile global oil market, according to Commsec analyst Savanth Sebastian.

The dollar began its upward spiral early last week after the RBA let slip comments deemed rate-rise hawkish, and from its current position – hovering around 79 US cents – is likely to absorb the potential impact of any sudden hikes across global energy markets.

Mr Sebastian said it would be unlikely for prices at the pump to shift dramatically over the medium term.

In the past week, the national average price of unleaded petrol fell by 0.8 cents to 122.6 cents a litre while the average cost of petrol is holding near the middle of the recent trading range ($1.20-$1.25), according to the latest data from the Australian Institute of Petroleum.

This year global oil prices are down around 20 per cent, despite an OPEC-led push – confounded by an overnight consultancy report – to cut production in the face of the US shale oil glut.

“It is important to keep in mind that the national average pump price is holding just shy of recent nine month lows,” Mr Sebastian said.

CommSec estimates that since early May the average Aussie motorist is pocketing as much as an extra $12 a month from savings made at the pump.

Mr Sebastian said petrol is the single biggest weekly expense for most households and lower prices flow through the economy, especially to retailers.

Motorists could save even more dollars at the pump if they keep a close eye on the discounting cycle, he said.

In Adelaide and Perth, petrol is now trading closer to $1 a litre.

“Even in Sydney and Melbourne, prices could get close to $1 a litre in the coming fortnight,” Mr Sebastian said.

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