ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Sunday raised petrol prices by up to 8.2 percent, the oil and gas regulatory authority said, contrary to its advice to leave prices unchanged.
The price of petrol crossed the psychological barrier of 100 rupees and was raised from 97.66 rupees (1.07 dollars) to 105.68 rupees (1.16 dollars) or by 8.2 percent.
The authority said in a statement that it had recommended the government keep petroleum prices unchanged "by absorbing the said increase in petroleum levy (or tax) to provide relief to the public at large."
The price of diesel and high-octane gasoline was increased by 4.5 percent and 7.0 percent respectively.
The price of compressed natural gas, an alternate transport fuel, was increased from 77.12 rupees to 88.70 rupees.
Pakistan has to import most of its oil and its weak economy and currency have forced the President Asif Ali Zardari's coalition government to regularly pass onto citizens the impact of global price hikes due to budget constraints.
The International Monetary Fund warned Pakistan in February over its widening fiscal deficit and slow growth, saying the economy remains deeply at risk to both internal and external shocks.
The IMF said Pakistan's economy would speed up to a 3.4 percent growth pace in fiscal 2011-2012, which runs to June 30, compared to 2.4 percent last year.
Global crude oil prices recovered Friday from the prior day's losses, in a market supported by fresh US sanctions against Iran's oil sector.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in May, closed at $103.02 a barrel, up 24 cents from Thursday's market close.
In London trade, Brent North Sea crude for May gained 49 cents to settle at $122.88 a barrel. AGENCIES