Petrobras Argentina SA (PESA), the Argentine unit of Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, fell the most in five months amid speculation that a dispute with the government will force oil companies to boost investments.
The stock retreated 6.4 percent, the biggest decline since Oct. 3, to 6.45 pesos.
“The government’s offensive against YPF is spreading to the provinces and there are bets it will affect other oil companies,” said Adrian Mayoral, an analyst and trader at Buenos Aires-based brokerage Mayoral Bursatil.
YPF SA, Argentina’s largest energy company, has been under pressure by the government to increase production after it said oil companies doubled fuel imports in 2011. The Argentine province of Chubut has threatened to withdraw YPF licenses, saying it hasn’t done enough to boost production.
YPF fell 15 percent Feb. 29 after Buenos Aires-based newspaper Ambito Financiero said that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner could announce an intervention in the company the next day. It jumped 17 percent the next day after the president didn’t announce a nationalization.
Argentina is unlikely to adopt “extreme nationalist” measures against YPF while the oil producer may reduce dividends and increase investments, Banco Itau BBA SA analysts said March 2.
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