Domestic oil product prices are to increase for the first time in eight months to reduce losses made by refiners who are unable to pass on the full cost of crude oil to consumers. The National Development and Reform Commission said refinery petrol prices would rise by US$37 a tonne and diesel prices by US$31 a tonne. Consumers will be spared the full impact of the increase with pump prices for petrol and diesel going up US$31 a tonne and US$19 a tonne respectively. Subsidies were promised for “disadvantaged groups and public-good industries”. The price hike does not match the increase in global oil prices seen over the past year, but it does ease the pressure on a refining industry that posted a US$3.7 billion loss in 2005. Sinopec received a one-off payment of nearly US$1.2 billion to compensate for its refining losses.