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Brazil’s Petrobras cuts prices, reacting to oil plunge

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Brazilian state oil company Petrobras announced Friday it will slash gasoline and diesel prices to bring them in line with world markets, after complaints it was keeping prices inordinately high. The decision, which should see its gasoline prices fall 3.2 percent and diesel 2.7 percent, reflects “the need for greater agility in (pricing) decisions and to attract partners for the refining sector,” said the director for refining and natural gas, Jorge Celestino. Petrobras, which has been battered by a massive corruption scandal and plunging oil prices, had been criticized for holding gasoline and diesel above market levels in Brazil even though crude prices have plunged by about half in the past two years.

If the cuts are passed on at the pump, inflation-weary Brazilian drivers should see their price per liter fall by about 1.4 percent for gasoline and 1.8 percent for diesel. Left reeling by revelations that corrupt executives, contractors and politicians bilked it for billions of dollars in a massive pay-to-play scheme, Petrobras has begun selling off assets and seeking partners to split exploration and drilling costs. The company, the largest in Brazil, lost $9.6 billion last year — its second year in the red, and worst performance since its founding in 1953.

– AFP

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