Hungarian government scraps price cap on fuels as shortage worsens

By Krisztina Than BUDAPEST (Reuters) -Hungary's government scrapped a price cap on fuels on Tuesday after a lack of imports and panic buying led to fuel shortages across the country in the past days that oil and gas group MOL said created a "critical situation." Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff told a briefing late Tuesday the government had to abolish the price cap, which was introduced a year ago, at MOL's recommendation immediately. The price cap was set to expire at the end of December. "We could not wait any longer... as this is the only way to ensure security of supply," Gergely Gulyas told a joint briefing with MOL Chairman and chief executive Zsolt Hernadi. Gulyas said the ending of the price cap will boost inflation but did not give an estimate. Hungary's annual inflation is already running above 21%. MOL said earlier on Tuesday that the only solution to alleviate the serious fuel shortage was to create the conditions for increased imports, as MOL was not able to import any more products, while its Danube refinery was still undergoing maintenance and running at 50-55% capacity. Foreign players have cut fuel shipments to Hungary since the government...

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