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March 28, 2017

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Sinopec’s net profit rises for 1st time in 3 years

SINOPEC’S 2016 net profit jumped 44 percent, its first annual profit rise in three years, as strong demand and better margins in its downstream refining business helped offset low oil prices.

Sinopec, as China Petroleum and Chemical Corp is also known, saw net profit surge to 46.7 billion yuan (US$6.8 billion), it said in a stock exchange filing.

The biggest refiner in Asia had previously seen profits dive around 30 percent in both 2015 and 2014.

Sinopec President Dai Houliang said one reason for the “better-than-expected” results is that “demand for chemicals grew steadily.”

While the upstream business was sluggish owing to low international crude oil prices, the downstream refining business improved as domestic demand for refined oil products held steady, and “grew steadily” for chemicals, Dai said.

In a separate statement, Sinopec forecast profit would rise in the first quarter of 2017.

“Lower crude prices really helped Sinopec’s margins last year,” Tian Miao, a Beijing-based analyst at North Square Blue Oak, told Bloomberg News.

“Sinopec may continue to benefit from China’s strong fuel demand growth, especially gasoline. The risk for Sinopec going forward is that crude prices rise too high and too fast as higher upstream margins wouldn’t be enough to cover refining losses.”


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