Friday, May 13, 2005

Spot shortages

The radio reported today spot shortages of gasoline in Kiev. We were out this evening and saw a number of stations with no 95 octane which is the preferred gasoline here. There was lower octane fuel and higher octane fuel but no 95 octane.

At one point we were close to a TNK station, one of the Russian companies that negotiated with the government to reduce prices. There was no information on the price board about 95 octane. That was empty. But while we were waiting there, the price showed up. It was 3.20 hryvna. That is 21 kopek higher than the price agreed upon in negotiations with the government. I hadn’t heard that the price controls had lifted but apparently someone in that station or someone in TNK headquarters had authorized the price hike. That price is equivalent to the price before the controls.

So we get shortages and the price goes up anyway. Adds to the sense that the government doesn’t seem competent. That is a harsh thing to say, I know, but that is the feel. Yuschenko campaigned on a lot of things and liberalizing the economy was one of these. Price controls didn’t seem to be in the cards at the time. I know he has better sense than this but someone in his government doesn’t seem to.


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