RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro was not consulted or informed about state oil giant Petrobras’ decision this week to raise fuel prices, which underscores the company’s independence, Chief Executive Joaquim Silva e Luna told Reuters on Wednesday.
The ex-army general chosen in April by Bolsonaro to lead the company said there has not been and there will not be any external interference in fuel price adjustments.
His comments come after his predecessor was pushed out by Bolsonaro following a disagreement over fuel price hikes, raising alarm among investors about government interference in the oil producer.
Luna said the increases were necessary due to the high price of oil on global markets, but stressed that all price hikes are done on technical grounds, based on the future outlook for demand and supply.
With oil at $73 a barrel, domestic inflation at its highest in years and the COVID-19 pandemic still hanging over the economy, Luna admitted that Petrobras is in a difficult position.
“That’s the reality, but it doesn’t change the pricing policy,” Luna said.
Petrobras on Monday announced the first increase in diesel and gasoline prices since Luna took over as chief executive on April 19.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier in Rio de Janeiro; Writing by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Matthew Lewis)