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China won't cut fuel prices when crude trades below US$40 a barrel

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China, the world's second-biggest oil consumer, won't cut fuel prices as long as oil trades below US$40 a barrel, the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, said in a statement Wednesday.

[HONG KONG China, the world's second-biggest oil consumer, won't cut fuel prices as long as oil trades below US$40 a barrel, the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, said in a statement Wednesday.

Profits from fuel sales "will go into a government fund for enhancing energy conservation, fuel quality and energy security," the NDRC said in the statement. Brent oil, the benchmark for most of the world's crude, has fallen about 33 per cent in the past year and was trading at US$31.42 a barrel at 8:38 am in London.

NDRC suspended fuel price cuts last month to curb demand as it said automobile emissions are part of the reason for worsening air pollution in China. Since the last price adjustment on Dec 2, oil has fallen below US$40 and prices will be adjusted lower from Thursday to reflect that level, the NDRC said.

In March 2013, the NDRC said it will review gasoline and diesel prices every 10 working days based on the average price of a basket of crudes, down from 22 days previously.

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