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Chinese govt may ease curbs on oil price
www.chinaview.cn 2006-01-26 10:02:48

    BEIJING, Jan. 26 -- The government is expected to relax controls over retail oil prices in its domestic market soon, bringing them more into line with international prices, a National Bureau of Statistics official said.

    Li Deshui, head of the National Bureau of Statistics, told a media briefing in Beijing yesterday that he believes the government will allow retail oil prices to rise in response to market forces in the near future, despite the flow-on inflationary effect on the economy.

    ¡°We should make full play of the market mechanism to find the real price,¡± he said

    ¡°That¡¯s one of the reasons we should accelerate the reform of the price mechanism.¡±

    The government has set caps on the prices of retail oil products in the domestic market to deflect inflationary pressure and cushion consumers from the full effects of soaring global energy prices.

    Oil prices reached a four-month high of US$69.20 per barrel Monday in the international market, far higher than the prices paid for the commodity by domestic users.

    Li gave no timetable for the long-awaited reform, saying only that it should occur step by step.

    He also said that China¡¯s net imports of crude and refined oil last year dropped 5.3 percent year on year, and welcomed the downturn as a sign that the country is using the resource more efficiently.

    The country¡¯s rate of consumption of crude and refined oil last year was also down 0.5 percent compared with a growth of 15.3 percent a year earlier.

    ¡°With gross domestic product growth at 9.9 percent, the drop is very encouraging. This means China¡¯s economy can maintain high growth with a significant fall in natural resources consumption,¡± Li said.

    (Source: Shenzhen Daily/Agencies)

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