President Jair Bolsonaro turned up the tone against Petrobras in its traditional live on Thursday. And, for those who haven’t seen the criticisms, he thought it was good to restate them in writing. On the morning of this Friday, the 7th, the president’s Twitter profile summarized everything he said, even emphasizing the terms “absurd”, rape” and “abusive”, used to criticize the oil company’s profit. The attacks on the state-owned company come less than two months after the company changed its president after the president’s harsh criticism of its pricing policy. Since its last offensive against the oil company, with the public frying and the resignation of General Joaquim Silva e Luna from the state-owned company and the rise of José Mauro Coelho to the position, prices have not risen further in the refineries, but they are out of date. At the pumps, however, gasoline sets a record and has an average price of 7.28 reais (up 1.1% in the period) and diesel costs an average of 6.61 reais (0.3% more expensive).
The most expensive fuel puts pressure on inflation, which in the April preview – a period that captures the last rise in prices and the exchange in the oil company – accelerated to 1.73%, accumulating a 12.16% high in the last 12 months. The biggest prisoner was precisely fuel. The president’s concern is with what a new price increase could do with inflation — and impact his popularity in the middle of an election year.
After 57 days of the last price adjustment promoted by Petrobras, gasoline has already accumulated a lag of 12% and diesel of 24%, according to the Brazilian Association of Fuel Importers (Abicom). A barrel of Brent oil, a reference for Petrobras, operates this Friday morning at around 113 dollars, up 2%. According to the company’s pricing policy, the price of fuel varies according to the price of a barrel of oil and the dollar exchange rate, a policy in effect since 2016.
In criticisms, Bolsonaro cites the social role of state-owned companies and mixed-capital companies provided for in the constitution and even citing a survey, without saying which one, that 70% of people are in favor of the government interfering in Petrobras. In almost four years of term, Petrobras has already changed president twice and Bolsonaro’s threats at the company go against the liberal agenda that elected him in 2018 and even his eventual rhetoric of privatization of the company. “Petrobras is not a state-owned company, it is a mixed economy. I know you owe the shareholder satisfaction, I know that. Now, who are these shareholders? They are largely US pension fund companies. We, with the sacrifice of the Brazilian people, are keeping fat pensions outside Brazil.”, he said during the live, distorting the very economic agenda that took him to Planalto.
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