PetroChina posts 5 pct fall in Q1 profit, beats forecast

HONG KONG, April 24 Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:14am EDT

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HONG KONG, April 24 (Reuters) - PetroChina, China's biggest oil and gas producer, reported a 5 percent fall in first-quarter profit but beat forecasts as a decline in international crude prices was offset by a strong recovery in refining and fuel retailing business.

Net profit reached 34.2 billion yuan ($5.48 billion) in the January-to-March quarter versus 36.0 billion yuan a year earlier, the Beijing-based company said on Thursday. The figures were calculated using international accounting standards.

The earnings compared with an average forecast of 30.3 billion yuan by three analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

PetroChina said last month it would cut capital spending for the second consecutive year in 2014 as it sought to boost shareholder returns in the midst of a massive corruption probe.

($1 = 6.2376 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Charlie Zhu; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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