Amid pressure from the Ministry of Mines and Energy for Petrobras to reduce fuel prices, international oil prices rose again this Monday (20), reinforcing Petrobras’ argument about the high volatility in the market. The Brent barrel, an international reference traded in London, closed the session at US$82.37, an increase of 2.18%. It was the third consecutive trading session with an increase, reflecting uncertainty regarding the next OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) meeting.
On Friday (17), the Minister of Mines and Energy, Alexandre Silveira, demanded that Petrobras cut the prices of gasoline and diesel to offset the recent drops in the barrel. According to him, MME calculations indicate the possibility of a drop of R$0.12 per liter in gasoline and R$0.40 per liter in diesel.
On Saturday (18), the president of Petrobras, Jean Paul Prates, responded on a social network, saying that any government interventions in the company’s strategy must follow the State Law. He stated that the great virtue of the company’s current strategy “is to provide stability and predictability”.
Petrobras last changed fuel prices on October 21, with a cut of R$0.12 per liter in the price of gasoline and an increase of R$0.25 per liter in diesel. With the drop in oil prices in recent weeks, the company operated at a premium compared to the foreign market.
Indicators produced by the Brazilian Association of Fuel Importers (Abicom), however, still show great volatility. In gasoline, for example, the premium reached R$0.11 per liter on the 9th. It fell until it was negative at R$0.05 on the 14th and, this Monday, it was R$0.04 per liter.
Diesel presents similar behavior, although with higher values. On the 10th, Petrobras sold the product at a premium of R$0.26 per liter in relation to the import parity calculated by Abicom. This Monday, the indicator fell to R$0.15.
Since implementing its new pricing policy, Petrobras has operated most of the time with a lag in relation to Abicom’s import parity. Prates argues, however, that the company kept fuel prices stable during periods of great volatility. The Mataripe Refinery, the largest private fuel producer in the country, follows international prices more closely and has already made two adjustments to the price of gasoline in November: on the 9th, it was reduced by R$0.07 per liter; on the 16th, it increased by R$0.13 per liter.
In the oil market, there is great uncertainty regarding the behavior of international prices at the end of the year. Although analysts believe demand will remain weak, OPEC could decide on further production cuts at its meeting at the end of the month. In a report released on the 16th, Goldman Sachs analysts predict that the organization will work to maintain prices between US$80 and US$100 per barrel. “While higher non-OPEC production and a weaker economy are price risks, we estimate Brent will remain near $80.”
At the beginning of the month, in its monthly price report, the EIA (Energy Information Agency of the United States government) estimated that Brent would average US$90 during the fourth quarter. For 2024, the forecast is US$93 per barrel. Despite the rise in oil prices in recent days, Nova Futura analyst Bruna Sene sees room for cuts, considering that Brent oil was at US$93 per barrel at the time of the last adjustment. And she highlights that the market has shown concern about the tension between Silveira and Prates.
“I realize that the market may be adopting a more cautious and more sensitive stance in the face of certain news related to Petrobras. Especially in relation to the possibility of changing the company’s command,” he stated. The company’s shares did not follow Brent, closing up 0.05%.
“The rumors surrounding the company are negative for the company’s shares”, agrees Ativa Research, which does not believe that the implementation of the pricing policy “constitutes a fundamental reason for an interpellation asking for the change of the current leadership by Union ministers “. (NICOLA PAMPLONA/Folhapress)
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