PetroChina annual profit rises 12.4 percent

PetroChina annual profit rises 12.4 percent BEIJING (AP) — PetroChina Ltd., China's biggest oil producer, says its profit rose 12.4 percent last year after higher retail gasoline prices helped to narrow heavy losses for its refining unit.

PetroChina said Thursday that earnings rose to 129.6 billion yuan ($21.6 billion). Total revenue rose 2.9 percent to 2.2 trillion yuan ($366 billion).

A change in state-set retail gasoline prices in 2013 helped to narrow state-owned PetroChina's loss on refining operations by nearly 45 percent to 24.4 billion yuan ($4 billion).

China's government squeezes refining margins at its major oil companies and sometimes forces them into a loss by holding down prices at the pump when global crude costs spike up.

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