The Central Energy Fund’s preliminary estimates suggest that South Africa’s petrol (95 ULP inland) and diesel (0,05% wholesale inland) prices could increase by 57 and 48c/ℓ, respectively on 3 March 2021. This adjustment means the retail price of petrol could rise to R16,24/ℓ from the current R15,67/ℓ. Simultaneously, the wholesale diesel price could increase to R14,06/ℓ from R13,58/ℓ in February 2021.

This will be the highest level for petrol since December 2019, while it is the highest level since March 2020 for diesel. The underpinning driver of the price increase is the rising Brent Crude price, which traded at US$62,91 per barrel on 18 February 2021. This is 10% higher than the corresponding period last year.

While this expected fuel price hike will increase farmers’ input costs, it fortunately comes at a quiet time in the agricultural sector, the exception being the agribusinesses in logistics. These businesses will most likely experience an increase in activity due to an expected rise in wheat imports and summer grains exports. It is worth noting that roughly 81% of maize, 76% of wheat, and 69% of soya beans in South Africa are transported by road. On average, 75% of national grains and oilseeds are transported by road. – Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz