* All three state-run refiners to raise prices
* BPCL to raise by 2.53 rupees/lt, HPCL by 2.54 rupees/lt
* Biggest fuel retailer IOC to raise by 2.50 rupees/lt
NEW DELHI, Jan 15 (Reuters) - India’s state-run fuel retailers will raise petrol prices by about 4.5 percent from Sunday, sources at the companies said, putting increased pressure on wallets as the country battles the highest inflation of any major Asian economy.
India is beset by rising food and fuel prices, and the central government has come under increasing criticism for failing to implement major structural reforms to control rapid inflation, which has hit hundreds of millions of poor people.
Sources at each of the three companies said Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL.BO) would raise the petrol price by 2.53 rupees (5.5 U.S. cents) a litre, Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL.BO) by 2.54 rupees a litre, and Indian Oil Corp (IOC.BO), India’s biggest fuel retailer, by about 2.50 rupees a litre.
The sources said the price increases were needed due to rising global crude oil prices. [O/R] CLc1 LCOc1
In June, India allowed fuel retailers to set petrol prices, but the prices of diesel and cooking fuels are set by the federal government.
The wholesale price index (WPI) INWPI=ECI, India’s main inflation gauge, rose an annual 8.43 percent in December, after a rise of 7.48 percent in November. India’s fuel inflation rose to 11.19 percent in December from 10.3 percent in November.
Indian firms in December raised petrol prices by up to 5.6 percent, the biggest rise in six months, to protect their margins from high crude prices. [ID:nSGE6BD095]
But New Delhi last month deferred a hike in diesel and cooking fuel prices that would have eased the government’s subsidy burden but would have aggravated inflation and added to voter discontent. (Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Writing by Henry Foy; Editing by Jane Baird)