April 28, 2012 / 6:32 AM / 5 years ago

Manmohan Singh says fuel prices need to be appropriate

Workers walk inside the complex of Guru Gobind Singh oil refinery near Bhatinda in Punjab April 27, 2012.Ajay Verma

BATHINDA, India (Reuters) - India needs to set appropriate retail prices for refined fuels, Manmohan Singh said on Saturday, after retailers threatened to hike petrol prices unless the government compensates them for losses incurred for selling below cost.

India's state-run refiners sell cooking gas, kerosene and diesel at below-market prices set by the government to assist the country's poor and control inflation. But retailers who sell refined fuels threatened to hike petrol prices this month in the face of mounting losses.

Refiners were given freedom to fix their own petrol prices in June 2010, but have not raised the price of the fuel since December 2011 despite sharp increases in global oil prices.

India imports about 80 percent of its oil needs.

Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Ed Lane

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