Petrobras Climbs on Speculation Brazil May Allow Price Increases

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil producer, surged to a two-month high after newspaper Valor Economico said the government is considering allowing the company to increase fuel prices.

The shares rose 3.8 percent to 17.60 reais at 11:56 a.m. in Sao Paulo. A close at that level would be the highest since June 18. Trading volume was 93 percent of the three-month daily average. The benchmark Ibovespa (IBOV) sank 1 percent.

Brazil is considering allowing Petrobras, as the company is known, to gradually increase gasoline and diesel prices, Valor Economico columnist Claudia Safatle wrote, citing a government official she didn’t identify. The Rio de Janeiro-based producer is selling fuel at a discount as the government, which owns a majority of the company’s voting shares, has refrained since March from raising fuel prices as part of an effort to control inflation.

“The shares could be getting a boost from the discussion of price increases in gasoline and diesel,” Luana Helsinger, an analyst at GBM Grupo Bursatil Mexicano in Rio de Janeiro, said by e-mail. “The company is always requesting a return to price parity, which doesn’t necessarily happen.”

The government has nothing to announce about its fuel price policy, Energy Minister Edison Lobao told reporters in Brasilia today.

Petrobras has increased prices for gasoline 15 percent and diesel 22 percent since June 2012 to reduce the discount with international prices. The company plans to eventually bring domestic fuel prices into line with international prices to eliminate the losses, Chief Financial Officer Almir Barbassa said on a conference call on Aug. 12.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julia Leite in New York at jleite3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at papadopoulos@bloomberg.net

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