Japan jacks up gasoline subsidy to 17.7 yen a litre from 5 yen

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will raise its gasoline subsidy for oil distributors to 17.7 yen (15.29 cents) a litre for the week starting on March 10, compared with 5.0 yen for the previous week, the industry ministry said on Wednesday.

The government last week lifted the ceiling on the emergency subsidy to 25 yen a litre from 5 yen for the week starting on Thursday to help blunt the blow of surging fuel prices.

Concern about disruptions of Russian oil supplies have further pushed up prices that had already been soaring due to concerns over tight global supply when Japan implemented the temporary subsidy programme in late January.

The government is tapping 350 billion yen ($3 billion) in emergency reserves for the fiscal year ending this month to fund the subsidies. It has not decided on plans beyond this fiscal year.

The government sets the subsidy amount every week if the retail gasoline price exceeds the threshold of 170 yen. Retail prices as of Monday reached 174.6 yen, rising for a ninth straight week, the ministry said.

($1 = 115.7700 yen)

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim)

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