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Sinopec States Profit Decline is worse than expected result, as its refining losses deepened

Top Asian refiner Sinopec Corp. reported a 20 percent decline in third-quarter net profit, and it is worse than expected result, as its refining losses deepened.

Chinese refiners bear the brunt of surging crude oil costs because the government has been slow to raise the prices of petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel for fear of fanning inflationary pressure that could spark social unrest.

Sinopec, which lost money on each barrel of oil it refined in the third-quarter, said the outlook for its refining business will remain gloomy if the government does not change its pricing policy.

"Under the current government policy, there won't be any improvement. We are not expecting much on margin expansion," chief financial officer Zhang Jiaren said on a teleconference, adding that the company believes the problem will be resolved but did not give further details.