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중국, 기름값 전격 인상 (E)


중국은 급증하는 에너지 소비를 줄이기 위해 전격적으로 국내 기름값을 최고 18% 인상했습니다.
한편
, 중국의 유가 인상조치가 발표되자 국제유가는 하락세로 돌아섰습니다.

주유소 앞에는 여전히 기름을 넣으려는 자동차들로 장사진을 이루고 있지만, 20일 새벽 0시를 기해 유가를 18% 인상한 19일 밤만큼 자동차들이 많지는 않았습니다.

홍콩 소재 ‘정치경제 위기 컨설턴트사’의 로버트 브로드푸트 씨는 중국 정부의 이번 유가 인상 조치가 적절한 출발이라고 지적하고, 그동안 국내유가에 대한 과도한 정부 보조금 지급이 중국에서 석유수요의 왜곡을 불러왔다고 말했습니다.

브로드푸트 씨는 소비자들이 점점 더 부유해지는 경제하에서 여전히 소비자들이 석유와 같은 생활필수품에 대해 시장가격을 지불하지 않는다는 것은 더 높은 가격으로 지불했을 경우 보다 석유수요가 더 많다는 것을 의미한다고 말했습니다.

브로드푸트 씨는 그동안 중국의 석유 수요 급증이 국제유가 의 주요 상승압력으로 작용했다고 지적했습니다. 마찬가지로 국제석유시장이 중국의 국내유가 인상에 영향을 받게 되었다는 것은 매우 흥미있는 현상이라고 그는 말했습니다.

브로드푸트 씨는, 이제 국제에너지 정책은 이제 더 이상 미국의 수요와 중동 산유국들의 공급에 의해서 결정되지 않 않는다며, 지난 19일 신흥 석유소비대국인 중국이 국내 기름값을 18% 인상하자 국제유가가 4%까지 하락했는데, 만약 영국이 이런 발표를 했더라면 국제유가에는 별다른 영향을 미치지 못했을 것이라고 지적했습니다.

중국이 베이징 올림픽을 앞두고 있는 상황에서 이같은 유가 인상이 사회불안을 가져올 수 있기 때문에 사실 자신은 이것을 전혀 예측하지 못했었다고 브로드푸트 씨는 말했습니다.

브로드푸트 씨는 세계 도처에서 유가 인상에 분노한 사람들이 거리로 뛰쳐나와 항의시위를 벌이는 많은 사례들을 지적했습니다.

브로드푸트 씨는 기름값이 오르면 사람들은 먹고 살 수가 없다며 파업을 벌이게 되는데, 지난 16일에는 한국에서 화물연대의 파업으로 운송대란이 일어났고 현재는 유럽에서 화물자동차들의 파업이 벌어지고 있다고 말했습니다. 따라서 유가상승이 중국에만 국한된 문제가 아니며, 유가가 오르면 반드시 고통을 받게 되는 집단이 생기게 마련이라고 브로드푸트 씨는 설명했습니다.

이런 사정은 지난 밤에 휘발유가격이 리터당 12센트 더 올라 리터당 90센트가 됐다고 울상을 지은 베이징의 어느 택시 운전사의 말에서 잘 나타나고 있습니다. 기름값이 오르면 그만큼 자신과 같은 택시 운전사들의 수입이 줄어든다고 그는 푸념했습니다.

이 택시 운전사는, 택시 운전사들 처럼 기름값 인상으로 큰 타격을 받는 집단에 대해 정부가 보조금을 지원해주기로 약속했다고 말했습니다. 그는 정부가 보조금을 지급해주지 않는다면 기름값인상이 큰 타격을 주게 될 것이라고 말했습니다.

*****
China has unexpectedly raised prices for fuel, by as much as 18 percent, in a move that could slow down the country's surging energy consumption. Meantime, the news from China caused global oil prices to drop. Stephanie Ho in Beijing has more on the story.



There were still some lines at gas stations, but they were not as long as they were Thursday night, after the Chinese government announced a fuel price increase of up to 18 percent, to go into effect Friday.


Robert Broadfoot, of the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, calls Beijing's move a good start, and says heavily-subsidized oil prices in China have led to distortions in Chinese demand for oil.

"And when you get an economy where people are becoming wealthier, and yet they're not having to pay market prices for critical commodities like oil, it means that their demand for oil is higher than it would be than if they were paying higher prices," he said.

He says the increased Chinese demand has put what he describes as "significant upward pressure" on global oil prices. By the same token, he says it is interesting to see that the world oil market is also affected by China's decisions.

"Global energy policy is no longer just set by the United States' demand and Middle East supply," he said. "China's such a new consumer, that when it makes a decision, like it did on Thursday, to raise prices by 18 percent, global oil prices fall by four percent. That wouldn't happen if England made a similar announcement."

Broadfoot says he did not expect the Chinese government's move now because such a move could cause social unrest before the Olympics.

He points to examples of groups around the world, whose anger over higher fuel prices brought them out onto the streets.

"Then they'll say, gee, we can't afford to eat, and that's when you start getting strikes," said Broadfoot. "Now, you've had a trucker strike in Korea on Monday. You're having trucking strikes in Europe right now. So, it's not just a China thing. When you get fuel price increases, you're going to get certain groups that are going to feel the pain."

This point is illustrated by one Beijing taxi driver, who says overnight, his gas prices went up 16 percent, or 12 cents a liter, to 90 cents per liter. He says higher gas prices will mean lower profits for him and his
colleagues.

He says the government has promised to provide subsidies to affected groups, like taxi drivers. He says if Beijing does not provide some kind of help, the fuel price rises will have a bigger impact. China has unexpectedly raised prices for fuel, by as much as 18 percent, in a move that could slow down the country's surging energy consumption. Meantime, the news from China caused global oil prices to drop. Stephanie Ho in Beijing has more on the story.

There were still some lines at gas stations, but they were not as long as they were Thursday night, after the Chinese government announced a fuel price increase of up to 18 percent, to go into effect Friday.


Robert Broadfoot, of the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, calls Beijing's move a good start, and says heavily-subsidized oil prices in China have led to distortions in Chinese demand for oil.

"And when you get an economy where people are becoming wealthier, and yet they're not having to pay market prices for critical commodities like oil, it means that their demand for oil is higher than it would be than if they were paying higher prices," he said.

He says the increased Chinese demand has put what he describes as "significant upward pressure" on global oil prices. By the same token, he says it is interesting to see that the world oil market is also affected by China's decisions.

"Global energy policy is no longer just set by the United States' demand and Middle East supply," he said. "China's such a new consumer, that when it makes a decision, like it did on Thursday, to raise prices by 18 percent, global oil prices fall by four percent. That wouldn't happen if England made a similar announcement."

Broadfoot says he did not expect the Chinese government's move now because such a move could cause social unrest before the Olympics.

He points to examples of groups around the world, whose anger over higher fuel prices brought them out onto the streets.

"Then they'll say, gee, we can't afford to eat, and that's when you start getting strikes," said Broadfoot. "Now, you've had a trucker strike in Korea on Monday. You're having trucking strikes in Europe right now. So, it's not just a China thing. When you get fuel price increases, you're going to get certain groups that are going to feel the pain."

This point is illustrated by one Beijing taxi driver, who says overnight, his gas prices went up 16 percent, or 12 cents a liter, to 90 cents per liter. He says higher gas prices will mean lower profits for him and his
colleagues.

He says the government has promised to provide subsidies to affected groups, like taxi drivers. He says if Beijing does not provide some kind of help, the fuel price rises will have a bigger impact.


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