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Petrobras Slumps to Eight-Year Low on Bet Fuel Prices Won’t Rise

Petroleo Brasileiro SA fell to an eight-year low on concern the state-controlled company won’t raise fuel prices this year even as costs for gasoline and diesel imports increase because of a weaker currency.

Shares in Petrobras, as the oil producer is known, declined 5.8 percent to 13.85 reais today in Sao Paulo, ending at the lowest level since July 2005. It contributed the most to the benchmark Ibovespa stock gauge’s 3.1 percent drop. The Brazilian real lost 1 percent to 2.4363 per dollar at 5:43 p.m. local time.

Political concerns during a presidential election year in Brazil may keep Petrobras from increasing fuel prices as it sells imported gasoline below cost while the country’s real weakens, according to Luana Helsinger, an analyst at the brokerage firm GBM Brasil. Finance Minister Guido Mantega is the company’s chairman.

“It really needs to pare these losses now,” Helsinger said in a phone interview from Rio de Janeiro. “The situation is even more serious considering that the company hasn’t increased its own output as much as everybody expected.”

Petrobras said Jan. 31 that December production dropped 2.5 percent from a year earlier.

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