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Fuel and chemical industry realizes 'positive changes'

THE central government's stimulus measures have brought some "positive changes" in China's petroleum and chemical industry last month, according to an association.

The gross production value of the industry jumped 26.3 percent to 498.4 billion yuan (US$73 billion) last month from February which had fewer days, though it fell 8.4 percent on an annual basis, the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Association said. For the first three months, the output value dropped 14 percent in annualized terms, it said.

"Based on monthly trends, some positive changes have occurred in the industry as prices for some petrochemical products have started to stabilize, reflecting that the government's macro measures have gradually kicked in," said Feng Shiliang, the body's secretary-general.

The nation's five largest oil companies, including China National Petroleum Corp, Sinopec and China National Offshore Oil Corp, posted a combined profit of 28.3 billion yuan last month, a rise of 13.2 percent on year and a surge of 160 percent on month, the association said.

In the first quarter, the combined profit plunged 25.7 percent from a year earlier. The five firms, which also include Sinochem and Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum, account for 48 percent of the whole industry in profit terms, it said.

China unveiled a 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package in November and later approved rejuvenation plans for 10 key industries, including petrochemical, to revive its economic growth amid a global downturn.

The association cautioned the overall market was still in a down cycle, and exports continued to worsen, with their value across all industries down 23 percent last month from a year earlier.


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