China's liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) import declined by a double-digit rate in the first six months of this year, as importers' enthusiasm was dampened by price gap between domestic and overseas markets, the General Administration of Customs said on Sunday.
From January to June, China imported 2.8 million tons of LPG and other hydrocarbon gases, a decline of 13.4 percent from the same period of last year.
But owing to oil price hikes on international markets, the arrivals were valued 5.1 percent higher at 1.48 billion U.S. dollars, the administration added.
LPG was priced at 7,600 yuan per ton abroad on average, 800 yuan higher than the domestic price.
Given the government efforts to cap LPG price at home to safeguard interests of consumers, the price gap would continue in a certain period of time to come, market observers said.
Of the total imports in the first half year, 1.288 million tons, or 46 percent, came from Australia, and 781,000 tons, or 27.8 percent, from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
The southern province of Guangdong was the leading importer, claiming a 80 percent share of the total LPG arrivals, according to the administration.
(Xinhua News Agency August 24, 2008)