China raises gasoline, diesel prices

Updated: 2010-12-21 21:19
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BEIJING - China will raise gasoline and diesel prices 310 yuan (about $46) per tonne and 300 yuan per tonne, respectively, beginning Wednesday, the National Development and Reform Commission(NDRC) announced Tuesday.

The is the second increase in fuel prices in two months after the NDRC raised the price of gasoline by 230 yuan and diesel by 220 yuan in October.

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The adjustment would raise the benchmark retail price of gasoline by 0.23 yuan per liter and diesel by 0.26 yuan per liter, the country's top economic planning body said in a statement on its website.

The crude oil price had climbed to $88.81 per barrel in West Texas Intermediate while Brent North Sea crude oil jumped to $92.74 per barrel as of Monday, a record high since October 2008, according to the NDRC.

The Chinese government adopted an oil pricing mechanism at the start of 2009 that allows the NDRC to adjust retail fuel prices when the international crude oil price changes by more than 4 percent over 22 straight working days.

However, the fuel price adjustment was somehow postponed and did not exactly follow the international price trend, considering "the current consumer price level and the overall supply and demand condition in the domestic oil market", said Liu Zhenqiu, vice director of the NDRC's price department.

Driven by sharp increases in food and commodities prices, China's consumer price index, a measure of inflation, accelerated to a 28-month high in November of 5.1 percent, well above the government's full-year target of 3 percent.