Silva and Luna: not every fuel price change is related to Petrobras

The president of Petrobras (PETR3; PETR4), Joaquim Silva e Luna, said on Tuesday, 14, that not all changes in fuel prices are directly related to the actions of the state-owned company. “When there is a fluctuation in prices, it does not mean that Petrobras had any action on the price,” he said, during a debate on the status of the operation of thermal plants, the price of fuels and other matters related to the company in the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies.

According to him, the part that corresponds to the state-owned company is approximately R$ 2, considering a price of R$ 6. “What impacts are the ICMS and other federal taxes, such as PIS and Cofins”, he commented.

During the Michel Temer government, Petrobras changed its fuel price policy to follow parity with the international market. In other words, the sale prices of fuels charged by the state-owned company started to follow the value of oil in the international market and the exchange rate variation. Thus, a higher price of the commodity and a devaluation of the real have the potential to contribute to a rise in prices in Brazil.

The formation of fuel prices is composed of the price charged by Petrobras at refineries (the highest margin), plus federal (PIS/Pasep, Cofins and Cide) and state (ICMS) taxes, in addition to the cost of distribution and resale. There is also the cost of anhydrous ethanol in gasoline, and diesel has the impact of biodiesel.

Bolsonaro has already publicly complained about the high prices and removed Roberto Castelo Branco from the command of the state-owned company earlier this year. He was replaced by Silva and Luna.

In some cities in the country, the price of a liter of gasoline is already over R$7 – and it has become one of the villains of this year’s inflation, responsible for severely affecting the budget of Brazilian families.

The prices charged at the bombs became a reason for a clash between the president and the governors. Bolsonaro has publicly demanded that the states reduce the ICMS, the state tax, so that gasoline and diesel prices fall.

On Monday night, 13, the president of the Chamber, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), criticized Petrobras’ management, causing a strong reaction in the oil company’s shares in New York. The message was published on Twitter after the House confirmed that the president of the state-owned company would participate in the debate. “Everything is expensive: gasoline, diesel, cooking gas. What does Petrobras have to do with this? Tomorrow [hoje], from 9 am, the plenary session becomes the General Committee to question the weight of the company’s prices in all of us. Petrobras must be remembered: Brazilians are its shareholders”, wrote the president of the Chamber.

Following statements by the president of the Chamber, Petrobras’ ADR in New York plunged more than 2% in the extended session. After some fluctuation, the paper ended Monday’s extra trading session at $10.19, down 1.16%.

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