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China suspends diesel exports amid inflation fears

EU approves 50 pct PetroChina stake in Inoes
Brussels (AFP) May 13, 2011 - Europe's competition watchdog on Friday approved a bid by Chinese oil giant PetroChina to take a 50 percent stake in two refineries owned by Ineos, one in Scotland and one in France.

The European Commission said in a statement it had concluded that the $1.015 billion transaction announced in January would "not significantly impede effective competition" in the European Union.

The deal "would not change the competitive structure of the markets for oil products under any alternative product and geographic market definition", it added.

PetroChina, which is listed in New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai, is controlled by China National Petroleum Corporation, a state-owned firm involved in exploration, development, production and sale of crude oil and natural gas, as well as refining, transportation, storage and marketing.

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 13, 2011
China has halted diesel shipments and restricted exports of refined oil products, in a bid to ensure domestic supply and stabilise fuel costs amid surging inflation in the country.

The National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement that exports of refined oil products would be "strictly controlled" and those of diesel temporarily stopped, except to Hong Kong and Macau.

The country's top economic planning agency also urged oil producers to "maintain full capacity operation" to increase output, in the statement dated Thursday.

"Economic authorities at all levels and oil producers must fully acknowledge the significance of ensuring refined oil supply in terms of maintaining social stability and facilitating economic growth," it said.

The commission also vowed to crack down on hoarding and unauthorised price hikes, according to the statement.

China has raised prices for gasoline and diesel fuel four times since October, citing rising global crude oil prices and fanning concerns about politically-sensitive inflation in the world's second biggest economy.

China exported 8.63 million tonnes of refined oil in the first four months of the year. It consumed 78.33 million tonnes during the period.

Export destinations for refined oil include Singapore, Japan, the United States and France.

Last month, hundreds of truckers went on strike at port facilities in Shanghai over rising fuel costs, prompting a stiff police response.

China's consumer price index rose 5.3 percent year on year in April -- a slight easing from a 32-month high of 5.4 percent in March but well above Beijing's official four percent target for this year.

China's central bank said Thursday it would raise the reserve requirement ratio, which effectively limits the amount of money banks can loan out, by 0.50 percentage points, effective May 18 -- the fifth such hike this year.

Interest rates have been hiked four times since October, and the central bank raised the reserve requirement ratio six times last year.

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Deepwater Horizon Spill Threatens More Species Than Legally Protected
Durham NH (SPX) May 13, 2011
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