The average retail gasoline price in Japan as of Monday fell ¥1 from a week before to ¥130.9 per liter, down for the 13th consecutive week, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy said Wednesday.

Crude oil prices have dropped to historically low levels, reflecting a sharp decline in energy consumption due to sluggish business activities amid the new coronavirus outbreak. “Gasoline prices may fall below ¥100 (on average),” an industry official said.

The key West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange sank into negative territory for the first time ever on Monday. Dubai crude oil prices, the benchmark for Asian markets, fell along with the New York market.

“Falls in crude oil prices put intense pressure” to lower gasoline prices, said an official at the Oil Information Center, which conducts the weekly survey on behalf of the government agency.

Oil distributors, such as JXTG Holdings Inc., are likely to cut next week’s wholesale prices by about ¥3 per liter, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Gasoline prices are expected to fall below ¥100 per liter for the first time since 2002 if Dubai crude oil prices, currently around $15 per barrel, drop to $10, assuming an exchange rate of ¥108 to the dollar.


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