Petrobras increased the price of gasoline in Brazil by 18.8%

Brazil’s state oil company Petrobras announced sharp hikes in gasoline and diesel prices due to the crisis in Ukraine, ignoring President Jair Bolsonaro’s criticism of what he sees as excessive prices.

Petrobras said in a statement that it will raise the price of gasoline at its refineries by 18.8% and diesel by 24.9% starting Friday in the face of the “global rise in oil prices and its derivatives as a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine”.

The company pointed out that the measure is in line with the increases of other fuel suppliers and emphasized that it had not raised prices in almost two months despite the increases registered in the international market in recent weeks.

The far-right president has advocated containing the increase in fuel prices and his government seeks to control inflation, two factors that are very detrimental to his popularity before seeking re-election in October.

Bolsonaro regularly criticizes Petrobras for its pricing policy. On Monday he said the company’s parity with international prices “cannot continue.” Following that statement, Petrobras shares plunged more than 7% due to nervousness among investors, something that already happened a year ago.

Then, the shares of the oil company lost more than 20% after Bolsonaro changed the CEO of Petrobras and claimed that the company should not be constantly “surprising people” with price increases.

Bolsonaro is pushing for Congress to pass legislation to cut fuel prices, though experts say the short-term impact would be minimal.

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