According to a source, Petrobras has stepped back and has given up the price of diesel at refineries as of Friday, after pressure from President Jair Bolsonaro on the oil’s readjustment policy.
The day before, Petrobras announced a 5.7 percent increase in fuel prices as of Friday, to 2.262 reais per liter, the highest level since October last year.
However, still, on Thursday, it annulled the increase and decided to keep the quote at 2.1432 reais per liter.
“The president (Bolsonaro) asked to reduce the increase, from 5 to 1 percent … It is to maintain the increase, but not in that percentage,” a Palace source told, who asked not to be identified given the administration sensitivity.
Bolsonaro’s potential pressure comes amid a recent dissatisfaction among truck drivers, who last year triggered a historic strike precisely because of the diesel’s high.
According to this source from the Planalto Palace, Bolsonaro himself called Petrobras CEO Roberto Castello Branco after a conversation with the chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni.
According to another state-run source, the move would put the company in a risk zone that refers to the times of previous government interference, when diesel and gasoline prices were “frozen” to help with inflation.
“Bolsonaro is doing exactly the dangerous populism that (former president) Dilma (Rousseff) did, and that is an affront to the company’s rules of governance and compliance,” the second source said. “If you want to question the policy, that manifests through the board of directors, but who decides to price is the executive board, not the president of the Republic.”
In a statement to the market after retracting the readjustment, Petrobras said that “in line with its strategy for diesel price readjustments … it revisited its hedge position and evaluated, throughout the day, the closing of the market, which there is room for a few more days of readjustment. ”
“The company reaffirms the maintenance of alignment with the International Parity Price (PPI),” he concluded.