BEIJING Feb 17 China, the world's
second-largest oil consumer, could consider raising the prices
of gasoline and diesel as early as this month as a basket of
crude oil prices has risen to hit a trigger point, data from an
energy consultancy showed on Sunday.
The 22-day moving average price of Brent, Dubai and Cinta on
Feb. 15 was 4.3 percent above the level when China last adjusted
fuel prices, the data from C1 Energy showed.
An increase or fall in crude benchmarks by more than 4
percent over a 22-working-day period typically triggers a price
rise or cut under China's current pricing regime.
However, the government often postpones rises if it is
worried about inflationary pressures, and this time may only
consider a rise later this month because current fuel demand
remains high as hundreds of millions of people are travelling
back to their workplaces after the Lunar New Year holiday.
China last adjusted fuel prices on Nov. 16, when it cut them
by about 3 percent in response to a decline in crude oil prices.
It has been considering a revamp of the current pricing
scheme to better reflect refining costs, with plans to lower the
trigger point, shorten the adjustment period and change the
composition of the basket of crudes to which pump prices are
(Reporting by Judy Hua and Jonathan Standing; Editing by Paul