“Now I want to privatize Petrobras. I want to do it. I will review with the financial team what we can do about it. Because I can’t control the company, I can’t control gasoline prices, but when it goes up it’s my fault, “said Thursday the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, in a radio interview.
Petrobras preferred shares rose 2% following the president’s comments, before cutting the advance to 1%. On Wednesday, the Minister of Economy Paulo Guedes it had suggested that the government could sell part of its controlling stake in the state company to fund welfare programs.
Previously, the president had been against the privatization of the oil company, describing the company as “strategic” for the country’s interests. But the oil company has become a hot political issue as energy costs drove inflation for Brazilian consumers, hurting Bolsonaro’s popularity heading into next year’s presidential election.
After urging Petrobras executives to keep prices low in recent years, Bolsonaro has said he respects the company’s independent pricing policy, and instead urges state tax reforms to lower values, it reported. Reuters.
In just one year, the increase in gasoline and diesel reached almost 40% in Brazil. In recent months, oil has experienced a strong rebound in the international market, which caused a mismatch between supply and demand for the input, and also in the midst of a greater restriction of production by the main exporters of the region. OPEC, which brings together the main world producers.
Although Brazil is self-sufficient in oil, since it extracts almost the same amount of the product it consumes, the country imports refined oil and exports the crude input, which is calculated in dollars. Therefore, the exchange rate has a direct impact on the price at service stations.