Pain at the Pump

Cambodians Hurting as Gas Prices Climb and Threaten the Larger Economy

Filling up at the gas station probably counts as few people’s favorite activity, but over the past year, it’s become almost a source of dread for many Cambodians as prices at the pump have jumped at a rate that far outstrips inflation.
According to data from the National Institute of Statistics, while the inflation rate in Cambodia was 5.8 percent from January 2011 to January 2012, gas prices jumped a whopping 10.8 percent. Consumers have been shocked recently as the increases have become more regular, and many have come to simply expect paying more every time they fill up.
The blame can be partly placed on rising world oil prices. Earlier this month, Brent crude topped US$128 per barrel, although prices have eased somewhat since then. Still, a sharp spike in the first two months of this year has kept prices at the pump high. Tensions in the Middle East and concerns about sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program have made investors nervous. Analysts do not think prices will come down below US$100 a barrel very soon.
Source: Economics Today, Issue 112, March 19-25

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