BEIJING, March 17 (Reuters) - China said on Tuesday it will cut the retail ceiling prices for gasoline by 1,015 yuan ($144.79) per tonne and diesel by 975 yuan, the biggest reduction since Beijing launched the pricing mechanism in 2013.
The cuts, which track plunging global oil prices amid the coronavirus outbreak, will take effect from Wednesday, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said.
Brent crude has tumbled 45% to $31.92 while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude is down 43% at $29.25 since China last adjusted its retail refined oil prices on Feb. 18.
China has set a floor for retail prices at $40 per barrel.
“Global oil prices have fallen below China’s floor retail prices ... The part below $40 will not be adjusted,” Peng Shaozong, a senior official at the NDRC, said on Tuesday.
The cuts represent a 13.9% reduction in gasoline prices and a 15.5% drop in diesel prices, Reuters’ calculations showed, based on the fuel prices the state planner published on its website.
The NDRC said on Monday that the pricing mechanism for refined oil products will not be changed at the moment but would be opened to the market in the future, depending on the progress of Chinese market reforms. ($1 = 7.0103 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Muyu Xu and Tom Daly; Editing by Louise Heavens and David Clarke)