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Poor families get fuel subsidies
Latest Updated by 2006-01-19 17:08:09
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Five provinces in southern China including Guangdong and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have recently begun offering fuel subsidies to poverty-stricken citizens amid gas price hikes.

On Monday Guangzhou decided to grant 20 yuan (US$2.5) per month as a temporary fuel subsidy to every low-income family before the Chinese Spring Festival, which falls on Jan. 29 this year.

Guangxi, Hainan, Jiangsu, Anhui and Jiangxi will also extend similar subsidies ranging from 10 to 20 yuan a month to poor residents.

"The move aims to ease the pressure from continuous price hikes for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) on low-income residents," said Lin Yuanlin, a social security official with the local civil affairs bureau in Nanning, capital of Guangxi.

Wei Rilong, a laid-off worker in Changgangling of Nanning, piled up coal briquettes in a small wooden box in the kitchen. Beside the box was an empty LPG tank covered with dust.

With the fuel subsidy, we can afford a tank of LPG for the coming weeklong holiday," he said.

"At the end of last year when the LPG price exceeded 100 yuan per 15-kg tank, I didn't dare buy gas and was forced to use coal."

Since last August, most parts of southern China have experienced a substantial LPG price rise. The hike was more than 40 percent in Hainan, Guangxi and Guangdong. In Hainan's scenic city Sanya, the LPG was once priced as high as 120 yuan per 15-kg tank, the highest across the nation.

Currently, China depends on imports to meet more than one-third of the domestic demand for LPG, a by-product of oil refining. The proportion is 60 percent in eastern and southern China and even up to 80 percent in Guangdong.

Imported gas is priced high and it is difficult for gas produced in northern China to be transported to southern regions. That's the reason for LPG price hikes, experts said.

LPG imported by Guangdong is now priced at 7,000 yuan per ton while the wholesale price per tank has reached 101 yuan.

The National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, Tuesday urged departments concerned to enhance management over LPG prices.

PetroChina and Sinopec, China's two leading onshore oil producers, said they will operate their LPG facilities on full steam to meet the great demand at home.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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