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Fuel price freeze back on agenda

Finance minister says nothing has been ruled out, as petrol prices reach a three-month high in peak holiday season

THE French government says it has not ruled a temporary freeze on petrol prices "in the coming weeks".

Prices have been rising gradually since the start of the summer holidays and have hit a three-month high.

Diesel reached an average of €1.40 per litre this week and unleaded €1.63 - their highest levels since early May, after crude oil prices broke the $90 a barrel mark.

Finance minister Pierre Moscovici said he was "extremely attentive" to the rising prices and would monitor the situation to see if preventing further rises was necessary.

He said he had not ruled out any measures, including a temporary block. This is possible by government decree for up to six months but can be introduced only if the situation is considered "a crisis, or exceptional circumstances".

A temporary price freeze on petrol was one of François Hollande's presidential campaign pledges, but it did not go ahead because prices appeared to be back in order.

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