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Financial News: ARGENTINA: Merval Tracks Petrobras Shares And Ends 1.54%

ARGENTINA: Merval Tracks Petrobras Shares And Ends 1.54% Lower

05/24/2018 - 18:29:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Merval, the benchmark stock market index in Argentina, ended the last session of the week down 1.54% at 29,766.45 points Thursday, affected by a decrease in Petrobras' share prices. In the week, the Merval lost more than 6%.

Petrobras' shares ended 13.76% lower in Argentinean markets after the company decided to cut and freeze diesel oil prices in Brazil for 15 days. Investors saw Petrobras decision as evidence of state interference in the company's management since the federal government is struggling to end a four-day truck driver protest against high fuel prices.

Petrobras estimates that it could lose R$ 350 million in revenue for cutting diesel oil prices in Brazil by 10% and freezing them in that level for 15 days, but the real loss could be larger or smaller than the initial forecast, depending upon oil prices and the foreign-exchange rate, said the state-owned oil company president, Pedro Parente.

During a conference call with analysts, he added that the price reduction is temporary and that there was no government interference in the company's decision-making process. He sought to calm shareholders by reminding them that the government would be forced to foot the bill if it required the company to change its operations in a way that would be detrimental to results.

"The brutal decline in Petrobras dragged down the other local shares," said analyst Eduardo Fernandez, from Rava Bursatil.

Loma (-12.44%), Holcim (-4.95%) and Metrogas (-4.49%) also had substantial price declines, while Edenor (3.44%), Comercial del Plata (3.25%) and Central Puerto (2.15%) ended higher.

The locally traded U.S. dollar rose 0.38%, to 24.57 pesos. "The greenback is still required for banks and companies to external transactions, trading and forex swaps, in spite of a smaller supply from grain exporters," said Fernando Izzo, from ABC Mercado de Cambios.

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