Oil refiners seek gasoline price hike

By Xiao Wan (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-18 15:50

In response to another round of rising global crude prices, China's top oil producers are considering seeking approval from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to increase prices of gasoline and diesel.

The nation's two largest oil companies, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, are among the firms that want a price hike for refined oil products, according to industry insiders.

"If global oil prices continue to skyrocket, the nation's top economic planner NDRC will undoubtedly regulate the price," said Gong Jinshuang, a senior analyst at the Economic and Technology Research Institute with CNPC, the nation's largest oil company.

"But the NDRC will be scrupulous about approving a price hike as it may intensify pressure on the consumer price index (CPI)," he added.

According to the NDRC, China's CPI this year may rise by over 3 percent, the warning line set by the central bank. In May alone, the CPI reached a two-year high growth of 3.4 percent after rising by 3.1 percent in March and 3.0 percent in April.

If higher prices for oil products are approved, such an increase would be the first adjustment since January, when China lowered prices for domestic gasoline by 220 yuan per ton and jet fuel by 90 yuan per ton - while keeping diesel prices steady - in response to falling international oil prices.

China has raised the price for refined oil products 12 times since 2003, including twice in 2006.

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