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Cooking gas vendors up prices on New Year’s Day   2010-01-02 - Thanh Nien, Tuoi Tre

Cooking gas traders raised 12-kilogram cylinder prices to their highest point ever recorded in Vietnam on Friday.



Most cylinders now sell for VND4,000 more than before New Year’s, while Elf Gas, Total Gas and Saigon Gas cylinders rose VND5,000.

Traders said they raised the price for cylinders, which now cost at least VND271,000 (US$14.83), on the back of global hikes.

Gas retail prices in Vietnam have climbed steadily since August as local vendors try to keep up with world prices that have risen on increasing industrial demand due to an emerging recovery from last year’s economic crisis and rising heating gas consumption in winter.

Global contract gas prices in January climed to more than $736 a ton, up around $12 from December.

Prices in Vietnam surged VND30,000-40,000 per 12-kilo cylinder in the first week of December, after rising VND41,000 in three times in November and VND18,000 in early September.

Nguyen Si Thang, chairman of Vietnam Gas Association, said the price rise was normal and would continue as cooking gas “depends largely on imports,” according to a Tien Phong report Friday.

According to PetrolVietnam Gas, Dung Quat Refinery in the central Quang Nam Province has provided around 95,000 tons of gas since opening in July while the Dinh Co Gas Treatment Plant in the southern coastal Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province has produced more than 260,000 tons.

But gas companies said the locally-refined supplies had only met around 30 percent of domestic demand.

With a national decree on liquefied gas to take effect January 15, Thang said gas traders would adjust prices themselves but the association reserved the right to step in anytime prices surge suddenly.

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