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LatinNews Regional Monitor: Brazil & Southern Cone - 15 April 2019

In brief: Brazil

* Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras lost R$32.4bn (US$8.35bn) in market value after President Jair Bolsonaro vetoed a planned increase in the price of diesel. The value of Petrobras’ preferred shares fell 7.75% on the São Paulo stock exchange (Bovespa) on 12 April, contributing to a 1.94% fall in the Bovespa index. Bolsonaro has assured that he has no intention of being interventionist, but he said that he had called the CEO of Petrobras, Roberto Castello Branco, after learning of a planned 5.7% increase in the price of diesel which has caused concerns as to a possible lorry drivers’ strike. “I am not going to practice politics as they did in the past, but I want the numbers of Petrobras, so I have called [a meeting with] all from Petrobras on Tuesday [16 April] to clarify the reasons behind the 5.7% adjustment, when this year’s projected inflation is below 5%”, Bolsonaro told journalists. Castello Branco acknowledged that the suspension of the price increase was in response to the president’s “legitimate” concerns, but he assured that Petrobras remains an autonomous company.