Fuel prices on the rise


New Zealand pump prices are the highest they have been since November 2015.

Unleaded 91 is typically selling for just under $1.96 per litre and diesel is retailing on average for $1.23 per litre. However it is possible to find it discounted in some regions.

The prices are being driven up by the rapid rise in crude oil prices. West Texas crude is trading for just over US$48 a barrel, compared to a low point of US$26 back in January.

The rise in oil prices is due to increased uncertainty about supply.

There have been production problems in Canada due to the wildfires.

Supply has been disrupted in Nigeria due to militants launching a string of attacks on the country's oil production infrastructure.

There have also been production problems in Columbia and Libya.

The political crisis in Venezuela has added to the uncertainty. The government of President Nicolas Maduro is collapsing. He has been facing growing protest, with opponents accusing him of economic mismanagement and calling for him to resign.

The uncertainty over supply offsets what had been concern about a glut of supply.

Analysts are split over where crude oil prices will go from here. Some say after rising for six of the past seven weeks it is inevitable that prices will pull back, perhaps into the US$30 range.

But others say the uncertainty, particularly in Venezuela, could push prices higher.