Pre-candidate for reelection, Bolsonaro calls Petrobras’ profit ‘rape’ and pressures the company not to readjust fuel | Policy

President Jair Bolsonaro made appeals this Thursday (5th) for Petrobras not to raise fuel prices in Brazil again. Screaming, during a “live”, the president said that the profits recorded recently by the company are “a rape”, benefit foreigners and who pays the bill is the Brazilian population.

Bolsonaro made the criticisms shortly before Petrobras released the results for the first quarter, when the company had a profit of R$ 44.561 billion. This value is 3,718% higher than that recorded in the same period last year.

A pre-candidate for re-election this year, the president frequently pressures the state-owned company not to make adjustments to fuel prices. He has already fired two company presidents due to readjustments, based on international oil prices and inflation.

“Brazil, if there is another increase (in fuel prices) it could break Brazil. And Petrobras people don’t understand, or don’t want to understand. We know there are laws. But we appeal to Petrobras not to increase prices”, said Bolsonaro during the “live”.

“I know (Petrobras) has shareholders. But who are the shareholders? US pension funds. We are funding large pensions in the United States. Petrobras, we are at war. Petrobras, don’t raise fuel prices anymore. Profit of you is rape, it’s absurd. You can’t raise fuel prices any more”, added the president.

In 2021, the company, which has the Union as its largest shareholder, recorded a record net profit of R$ 106.6 billion.

With prices soaring, companies try to cut fuel use

With prices soaring, companies try to cut fuel use

The president also stated that Petrobras is “abusing the Brazilian people” and that “it is a crime” to increase the price of diesel oil, the fuel mostly used in transportation in Brazil.

Bolsonaro quoted the minister Bento Albuquerque, of Mines and Energy, with whom he said he will be during a trip to Guyana on Friday (5), alongside the president of Petrobras, José Mauro Ferreira Coelho.

“You cannot, Minister Bento Albuquerque and Mr. José Mauro, from Petrobras, you cannot increase the price of diesel. I am not appealing, I am making an observation taking into account the abusive profit you have. It’s an appeal now: Petrobras, don’t break Brazil, don’t raise the price of oil. I can’t intervene. You have profit, you have fat and you have Petrobras’ social role defined in the Constitution”, he said.

According to Bolsonaro, multinational oil companies have reduced their profit margin, which is currently between 10% and 15%, according to the president. At Petrobras, Bolsonaro said, that margin would be 30%.

“Other oil companies in the world, almost all of them, have drastically reduced their profits. You are still at 30%. Other oil companies are even having losses. And look: you have a name to protect. if the price of diesel increases once again. I appeal here to Petrobras, to the Minister of Mines and Energy that they do not increase the price of Petrobras”, he said.

The rise in the prices of gasoline, diesel and cooking gas has contributed to pressure the prices of other products, which generates criticism of the government and Bolsonaro.

Inflation measured by the Broad National Consumer Price Index (IPCA) reached 11.3% in the 12 months through March. It’s been 7 months in a row with annual inflation above double digits.

Inflation projection rises to 7.89% and remains above the target ceiling

Inflation projection rises to 7.89% and remains above the target ceiling

The rate recorded in Brazil remains well above the average observed in the world’s largest economies.

This is not the first time that Bolsonaro has criticized Petrobras’ profit and the readjustments promoted by the company.

In March, after Petrobras announced a sharp rise in fuel prices, Bolsonaro said the company was recording “absurd” profit at an “atypical time in the world”. He also said that he was dissatisfied with the readjustment announced at the time.

The March increase was the last announced by Petrobras. Since then, there have been 55 days without a fuel price readjustment.

The repercussion of the sharp rise in prices in March led Bolsonaro to dismiss General Joaquim Silva e Luna from the presidency of Petrobras. In his place, José Mauro Ferreira Coelho took over.

Petrobras adopts a pricing policy for its refineries that is guided by fluctuations in the price of a barrel of oil on the international market and by the exchange rate.

In recent months, the international price of oil has risen, especially due to tensions caused by the war between Ukraine and Russia, the latter one of the world’s largest oil producers.

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