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Financial News: BRAZIL: Stocks Fall To Lowest Level Since February

BRAZIL: Stocks Fall To Lowest Level Since February

05/23/2018 - 19:55:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Ibovespa, the benchmark stock market index in Brazil, fell 2.26% to 80,867.29 points Wednesday - the lowest settlement level since February 9 - weighed by a decline in Petrobras shares (PETR3 -4.53%). The company is under pressure to modify its fuel pricing policy, and traders believe that any change would be detrimental to the state-owned oil company results.

Petrobras adjusts fuel prices almost daily, based on oil prices abroad and foreign exchange rates. With a stronger dollar and the recent rally in oil prices, diesel oil became much more expensive this month, leading truck in Brazil to block roads and refuse to deliver cargoes in protest.

The Brazilian government is trying to defuse the situation by bringing down one of the federal taxes on diesel oil, but first it needs Congress to end a payroll tax relief. In the meantime, pressure is building for Petrobras to change its price rules.

"Somebody will have to pay for the potential fuel price or tax reduction," said Platinum Investimentos' partner Rafael Gonzalez. "The fear is that Petrobras might foot the bill, and that increases the level of uncertainty and brings more speculation to the company stocks."

Eletrobras' stocks also ended lower (ELET3 -11.47%) after House of Representatives speaker, Rodrigo Maia, announced that lawmakers would not vote on a bill that could pave the way for the firm's privatization.

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