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Petrobras Falls on Plan to Increase Gasoline Imports: Rio Mover

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Aug. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, fell after it said that gasoline and diesel imports will rise in the second half of the year because of refinery shutdowns.

Petrobras, as the Rio de Janeiro-based producer is known, slid as much as 3.6 percent to 16.47 reais and traded at 16.61 at 4:46 p.m. in Sao Paulo. The stock is down 15 percent for the year, less than the 17 percent drop in Brazil’s main stock index.

The biggest producer in deep waters sells imported fuel at a loss as part of a government policy to control inflation. Gasoline and diesel imports will surpass the second quarter’s average of 81,000 barrels a day because the company is shutting two refineries for planned maintenance and domestic demand is expected to rise, Jose Cosenza, the head of refining, said on a conference call today. Gasoline and diesel imports will remain below 200,000 barrels a day, he said.

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 the same call. The discount on imported fuel rose to about 25 percent this month, up from 9.4 percent in the second quarter, because the local currency has lost ground against the dollar and international fuel prices have risen, said Auro Rozenbaum, an analyst at Banco Bradesco SA.

Brazil’s real was the worst-performing emerging market currency in the second quarter after losing 9.4 percent against the U.S. dollar.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Millard in Rio de Janeiro at pmillard1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net

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