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Sinopec denies cancellation of state refinery subsidies, tax rebates
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15:52, July 04, 2008

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Sinopec Group, China's top refiner, denied on Thursday the market talk that the government would stop subsidizing the company or cancel import tax rebates, local media reported Friday.

The company had not received any notice from the government on calling off the favorable policies, Beijing Times quoted an unidentified Sinopec official as saying.

China has been subsidizing Sinopec and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the country's largest oil producer, to cushion them from soaring world crude prices, as refined oil is sold at state-capped, below-cost prices nationwide.

The government mentioned policies would be adjusted once fuel prices were straightened, but the recent increases had only lessened the distortion instead of removing it completely, the official said.

On June 20, China raised the benchmark retail price of gasoline and diesel by 16 percent and 18 percent respectively.

Following the adjustment, Sinopec now sells gasoline in Beijing at 7.19 yuan (1.04 U.S. dollars) per liter for the highest grade of 98# petrol, still about half of that in Hong Kong.

Counting all the subsidies and price adjustment, Sinopec was still losing 900 yuan for refining each tonne of oil, according to the source.

In April, Sinopec received 7.1 billion yuan in subsidies in April. This followed 5 billion yuan in 2006, 4.9 billion yuan in 2007 and 7.4 billion yuan in the first quarter this year.

The company also received 2.51 billion yuan in refunded value-added taxes on imported gas and diesel from April to June, according to the Ministry of Finance.

The tax rebates, however, may be ended from July, said Thursday's Securities Times.

Sinopec shares rose 0.41 percent on Thursday in Shanghai, under-performing the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index that rose 1.95 percent. It slipped 1.34 percent to 9.6 yuan on Friday morning.


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