China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) said on Sunday that its net profit for the first quarter will rise by more than 50% year-on-year due to lowered oil costs and higher domestic fuel prices, the Wall Street Journal reported. The firm did not elaborate on its forecast; it posted a profit of US$980.9 million in the first quarter of 2008. Sinopec also reported its first full-year earnings decline since 2001, with 2008 net profit falling 47% year-on-year to US$4.4 billion due to soaring costs, weak domestic prices for chemical products, and a US$1.2 billion writedown of upstream assets and refineries. Sinopec also will boost its capital expenditure, despite an expected slowdown in demand for refined oil products this year. Total capital expenditure will rise to US$16.4 billion, compared to US$15.7 billion last year, with some US$8.1 billion spent on developing oil and gas fields as well as building gas pipelines in China.