The Beijing branch of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) yesterday lowered petrol prices at about 100 gas stations in the capital city.
The price cut, ranging from 0.2 yuan to 0.05 yuan, would "return profits of the company to the public," said sources with the company, adding the price cut would last for a month.
Unlike the previous nationwide price cuts directed by the price regulator, only CNPC's Beijing branch lowered its petrol prices, and China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), CNPC's major rival, has yet to react.
"Foreign-funded companies are rushing into the country as China opens its crude oil and refined oil sectors," said an analyst. "Price cuts will become an important and often-used tool for competition."
The cut could lead to a national price cut, experts said, as some gas stations said they would follow suit.
Chinese motorists have experienced 12 gas price hikes since 2003, including two in 2006.
(Xinhua News Agency March 10, 2007)