Vietnam gas companies cut prices after controversial hike

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Several Vietnamese cooking gas distributors made small price cuts on Friday following a hike earlier this month that infuriated local consumers and prompted authorities to launch a nationwide inspection.

Retail prices have been reduced by VND10,000-12,000 per 12-kilogram cylinder of cooking gas, news website VnExpress reported, calling it an "unexpected" move.

According to state-owned PetroVietnam, the reduction was in line with the government's orders to stabilize consumer prices and control inflation after the Tet Lunar New Year holiday.

Saigon Petro and Thu Duc Gas have also cut their prices while Vinagas is considering whether to follow suit, VnExpress reported.

Local gas distributors raised the price of a 12-kilogram cylinder by VND42,000 (US$2) in early February, citing price hikes in global markets.

The hike, the third in two months, sparked strong criticism among consumers and advocacy groups. The Finance Ministry's price management department on Tuesday ordered its units nationwide to look into the performance of gas distributors and their price schemes.

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