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Bottled gas prices soar as climate plummets
Latest Updated by 2005-12-20 15:00:42
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Guangzhou: Prices of bottles of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) which hundreds of thousands of residents use for cooking and heating are soaring.


Lu Jingyan, who lives in the capital city of South China's Guangdong Province, bought a 15-kilogram bottle of LPG yesterday at 99 yuan (US$12), which includes a 6-yuan delivery fee.


"The price up from about 70 yuan (US$8.6) last winter," she said.


Her five-member family uses two to three bottles a month on average. "We pay 60 yuan (US$7.4) more a month than before," she said.


Reports suggest authorities may put a cap on the hikes if they get too high.


About 1.2 million families are using bottled LPG in Guangzhou, making up about two thirds of the total number of LPG consumers.


Guangzhou Gas Company, the operator of the city's gas resources, confirmed yesterday's price of a bottle of LPG had climbed to 93 yuan (US$12), not including delivery fee of up to 6 yuan (74 US cents).


It means the price has jumped from 91 yuan (US$11.8) one week ago, and from 85 yuan (US$10.5) last month.


Dai Xinwei, an officer of the company, said the hike was caused by the continuing high price of crude oil internationally as well as increases in demand for gas in colder weather, particularly in the northern provinces.


The company's data shows the prime cost of a ton of LPG was between 3,000 yuan (US$370) and 4,000 yuan (US$493) two months ago. It has now jumped to more than 6,000 yuan (US$740) a ton.


"Our net profit does not change, but retail price changes every day," Dai said.


Another major LPG firm in Guangzhou, Zhenrong Gas Company, sold a bottle of LPG at 97 yuan (US$12), which also covers average delivery fees.


According to a report of Guangzhou's New Express yesterday, Price Control Administration of Guangzhou Municipality will control the hike in price in case it reaches a new high of 100 yuan (US$12.3), not including delivery charges.


"We are watching closely at the climb of LPG price," Liang Yuanbin, an officer of the administration told China Daily yesterday.


"We will control the price in a proper time."


But he declined to confirm that 100 yuan is the upper limit.


During a conference in October, Yang Xinli, director of power and energy department of Economic and Trade Commission of Guangdong Province, warned of problems at the end of this year and the beginning of 2006.


"Oil supply in Guangdong has returned to normal, but the supply crisis of gas, electricity and coal will not recover until the winter ends," Yang said.


Editor: Yan

By: Source: China Daily Website
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