We may complain about the rise in gas prices at the fuel pump, but nothing can make the oil firms happier. Case in point: Sinopec. The company’s first half profit was four times greater than for the same period in 2008. The reason: Higher fuel prices. Domestic fuel prices were adjusted several times during the first half. Gasoline and diesel prices were cut by 3% in July, after being raised 8-10%. That caused the company’s net profit for the six months ending June 30 to reach US$4.87 billion, up from US$1.1 billion for the same period last year. The company’s revenue slid 27% to US$78 billion amid lower contributions from the upstream exploration and production segment. Copper imports into China aren’t holding up as well. Imports of the commodity fell to 292,226 metric tons in July from June’s record 378,943 metric tons due in part to the closure of the arbitrage window that allowed buying of the metal at London Metal Exchange prices. But metal stocks have risen, with the Shanghai stock market’s CU-STX-SGH copper stocks up 7% last week and aluminum up 9%. Job opportunities are also dropping, with the minister of human resources and social security saying that only about half of China’s 24 million job seekers will find work this year.