China raises petrol, diesel prices

China raised wholesale petrol and diesel prices by 350 yuan ($53) per tonne Sunday, the second rise in two months in the world's second-largest fuel consuming nation, the government announced.

The hike, which marked about a 4.6 percent rise, came as the price of crude oil closed last week above $100 per barrel in London, China's economic planning agency said when announcing the increase Saturday.

The "limited" rise would see the benchmark retail price of petrol increase by 0.26 yuan per litre and diesel by 0.3 yuan per litre, the National Development Reform Commission said in a statement on its website.

In Beijing 93-octane petrol costs 7.45 yuan ($1.13) per litre.

China last increased petrol prices on December 22, the third time fuel prices rose in 2010 following hikes in October and April.

Inflation has become Beijing's top economic concern as it struggles to keep a lid on rising costs of food and other key items to head off public unrest.

Consumer prices rose at a stubbornly high 4.9 per cent in the year to January, the government announced last week.

The fuel price hike generated angry postings in China's Internet chatrooms, with many blaming the government for the increase.

"The reform commission should be reformed because these price rises are not being thought out," said one posting on the Twitter-like microblog Weibo.

"You say you want to curb rising food and grain prices so you raise fuel prices, so are you saying food prices will not rise even as transport costs go up?"

sai/slb

 

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