The fear of a global recession has brought down the price of oil in the international market, after the barrel hovered around US$ 140 in the first week of March. Yesterday, contracts for Brent oil (reference for Brazil) with delivery in September closed at US$ 100.69, down 2.02% on the day. In the month, the retraction reaches 7.7%.
Falling oil practically canceled out the gap between fuel prices practiced in refineries in Brazil and those negotiated abroad. According to data from the Brazilian Association of Fuel Importers (Abicom), the price of a liter of diesel was yesterday 3% above the international average; in the case of gasoline, this figure was 2%, driven by the Mataripe Refinery, in Bahia, which was privatized at the end of last year.
The move is an encouragement to the new administration of Petrobras, a company that came under attack from the government in recent months due to the continuous price readjustments of gasoline and diesel at retail. After changing the command of the state-owned company four times, President Jair Bolsonaro – who is running for re-election – said last month that it is necessary to change the entire board to give a “new dynamic” to the company.
Director of the Brazilian Infrastructure Center (Cbie), Adriano Pires says that the drop in oil is good news for the government, which in the short term will not have to pressure Petrobras to avoid further price adjustments. He recalls, however, that the appreciation of the dollar should hold possible price reductions for the consumer.
“If the war does not bring about extraordinary events and the recession returns, oil could go to US$ 80 (a barrel), pre-pandemic level”, he says.
According to former Petrobras refining director and adviser to the Brazilian Oil and Gas Institute (IBP) Anelise Lara, there is still a lot of volatility in the market and, at least in the short term, Brazil should not feel the impact of this drop. “Especially because Petrobras doesn’t increase the price immediately when it increases abroad, and it doesn’t decrease either. She prefers to wait and see if this course holds,” she explains.
The expectation of a global recession emerged after a general increase in interest rates in the main economies, as a way of controlling inflation. This movement provoked the appreciation of the dollar. Banks such as Citi already project that the price of the commodity could reach US$ 65 per barrel by the end of the year, against forecasts such as that of JPMorgan, that the price could reach up to US$ 300 due to the war in Eastern Europe.
Former president of the Energy Research Company (EPE), Maurício Tolmasquim adds that, despite the drop in oil in recent days, commodity derivatives are still on the rise. “There are factors that push the price down and others up, we still don’t know what will prevail.” And he adds: “In addition, the appreciation of the dollar makes oil more expensive in other currencies, such as the real”.
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