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China raises fuel prices for first time this year


China raised government-set fuel prices on Monday for the first time this year to reflect changes in global crude prices, the top economic planning body said.

The benchmark price for petrol will rise 3.5 percent to 8,830 yuan ($1,416) per tonne while diesel will increase 3.8 percent to 8,010 yuan per tonne, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement late Sunday.

Pump prices for petrol and diesel will rise by 0.22 yuan per litre and 0.25 yuan per litre respectively.

The commission said global crude prices had risen since November due to political turmoil in the Middle East and expectations of improving outlooks in the US and European economies.

The body can adjust fuel prices when international oil prices move by more than four percent over a 22-working day period.

Its last move was a fuel price cut in November to ease inflationary pressure.

Inflation slowed to 2.0 percent in January, official data showed earlier this month, easing from a seven-month peak of 2.5 percent in December.

Refinery shares rose in afternoon trading in Shanghai on Monday as the increase is expected to help them offset rising costs.

Sinopec gained 2.29 percent to 7.14 yuan while PetroChina climbed 0.45 percent to 9.02 yuan.

They were mixed in Hong Kong, where both companies are also listed, with Sinopec up 0.23 percent to HK$8.78 ($1.13) while PetroChina was down 0.37 percent to HK$10.66.