China raised prices for fuel by as much as 18 percent on Friday [today] in a move intended to cool the nation's surging energy consumption.
Demand for the energy needed fuel China's booming economy has contributed to unheard of prices for a barrel of oil. That price pitched downward immediately Thursday. Light, sweet crude for July delivery fell $4.75 to settle at $131.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The price increases were announced late Thursday by the National Development and Reform Commission, the government's main economic planning agency.
In an explanatory note accompanying the announcement, the commission said soaring oil prices had created "contradictions in the purchasing price of oil being higher than the selling price of refined products that were becoming more glaring by the day."
That had led some refiners to halt or suspend production, bringing supply interruptions and long lines at some filling stations, the NDRC said.
An "appropriate rise" in the price of refined products would "be beneficial to alleviating the difficulties enterprises were having in managing production," it said. That would also boost domestic output of such products, ensure supply, and "promote the conservation of energy resources," the commission said.
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