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Financial News: BRAZIL: Trucker Strike Lingers In Spite Of Government

BRAZIL: Trucker Strike Lingers In Spite Of Government Efforts To Halt It

05/28/2018 - 16:10:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The trucker strike in Brazil lost strength during the weekend, but drivers are still waiting for the federal government to turn into reality a series of measures that should lead to a R$ 0.46 decrease in diesel oil prices. In the meantime, cities are still facing fuel and food shortages.

The latest data points that there were 554 road blockades in Brazilian federal roads on Saturday night. Truckers stopped working last Monday and are refusing to deliver cargoes until the Brazilian government adopts measures that help them deal with high diesel oil prices.

The drivers see the Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras as partially responsible for the current crisis. The firm holds the most significant share of fuel markets in Brazil and since last year started to adjust gasoline and diesel prices on a nearly daily basis.

Petrobras policy dictates that those fuels become more expensive in the local markets when there is an increase in oil prices abroad and/or when the local currency, the real, loses strength compared to the U.S. dollar.

The recent turmoil in emerging markets means that both conditions were met in the early weeks of May, and prices jumped 10% in less than two weeks.

Drivers also blame the government for the current high cost of fuels, since almost half of the prices at the pump are a result of federal and state taxes.

Last week, the Brazilian government said that it had reached an agreement with truck drivers to suspend their strike for 15 days. The deal should buy some time for politicians to find a way to cut fuel prices, but part of the drivers rejected the proposal, and president Michel Temer ordered national security forces to clear roads that are blocked by truckers.

In a speech, Temer said that the Brazilian government would not allow the shortage of goods. "Those blocking the roads are hurting the population and will be held accountable. Lots of them [truck drivers] are doing their part, but a radical minority is blocking roads and preventing many drivers from doing their jobs."

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