a news release, the Beijing-based oil and gas giant said operating profits grew significantly during the first half in its oil production (up 26% year over year), marketing and distribution (up 36%), and chemicals (up 96%) segments. > > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll But the company, which is also known as Sinopec, reported a 12.2 billion renminbi operating loss in its refining business. Sinopec attributed the loss to significant increases in crude oil costs while prices in China for refined products were held down by state regulations. Looking ahead to the rest of the year, Sinopec said it expects international crude oil prices to fluctuate within a wider range. The company also said the rest of the year "is likely to be marked by turbulence in the international financial markets, bringing uncertainty to the global economic recovery." Sinopec predicted that Chinese government measures to curb inflation could be accompanied by slightly slower GDP growth. U.S.-traded shares of Sinopec finished Friday's session in New York up 96 cents at $91.19.