Tajikistan faces fuel shortage on Kyrgyz export ban

By bne IntelliNews July 22, 2013

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Tajikistan is alarmed to learn that the Kyrgyz government signed an executive order for a year-long ban on the re-export of Russian duty-free fuels to other countries, according to local press. The move puts Tajikistan at severe risk of fuel shortages.

According to Asia Plus, Dushanbe only became aware of the clampdown in mid-July, despite Kyrgyz Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev having inked the order as long ago as May 17. Plagued by its own difficulties in securing fuel, Kyrgyzstan said the order is aimed at preventing critical fuel shortages and rising prices. The ban does not apply to oil products produced in Kyrgyzstan itself, although Bishkek current relies on imports from Russia for 100% of its fuel consumption.

Despite the move, according to data from Tajikistan's energy ministry, the volume of oil products delivered from Kyrgyzstan has actually increased over the past two months. In June, gasoline and diesel prices were reportedly stable across much of Tajikistan, and even decreased slightly in Dushanbe.

While that's clearly a short-term bonus, rising imports from next door also exposes the country to even greater risk should Kyrgyz authorities have to enforce the clampdown. Kyrgyzstan accounted for over 40% of Tajik fuel imports in the first six months of 2013. Meanwhile, Dushanbe has seen direct imports from Russia drop from around 62% in 2012 to 40% in the first half of this year. An expected reduction of Russian export tariffs - which would lead to a reduction of fuel prices in Tajikistan - is still on the drawing board.

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