China reaffirms subsidy to refiners if oil hits above $130

An employee fills auto tank with petrol at a gas station in Hefei, Anhui province March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

June 29 (Reuters) - China said on Wednesday it will subsidise refiners if global oil prices hit above $130 a barrel, reiterating an existing fuel policy that closely tracks international markets but also with a goal to shield consumers from price shocks.

The subsidies will be measured based upon the actual sales volume of gasoline and diesel and the handouts will initially last for two months before further announcements if oil prices are consistently above $130, the ministry said.

"(The subsidy) is to safeguard stable fuel supplies, ease costs for manufacturers and alleviate burdens for consumers," the ministry said on its website.

Under China's pricing system since 2016, retail fuel prices are assessed every 10 working days to track global crude oil when benchmark prices move between $40 and $130.

However, prices move more modestly once global oil breaches $80, and retail prices change only marginally or freeze if global markets expand outside the $40-$130 band.

Benchmark Brent crude futures stood at around $118 a barrel on Wednesday, having been rangebound between $100 and $120 for the last three months or so, as investors weighed up tight supply amid the Ukraine crisis and a slowing global economy.

Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Andrew Heavens and David Evans

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