Petrobras announced today that the price of diesel sold from refineries to distributors will become 8.87 percent more expensive as of tomorrow. The change is expected to quickly impact prices at the pump — which have already risen by almost 24 percent this year alone.
It was Petrobras’ first adjustment to diesel prices since a massive hike announced on March 10. As we explained in today’s edition of the Brazil Weekly newsletter, importers say domestic rates were 21 percent below international levels.
“The global balance of diesel is impacted by a reduction in supply versus demand. Global inventories are low and below the seasonal lows of the last five years in the main supply regions,” says Petrobras in a statement. “This imbalance resulted in a rise in diesel prices worldwide, with the valuation of this fuel far above the valuation of oil. The difference between the price of diesel and the price of oil has never been higher.”
The continuous rise in fuel prices raises the tension between the government and truck drivers, who in 2018 staged a major national strike that halted the country for 11 days and caused massive economic losses. This year, leaders have filed lawsuits imposing government control over the prices, but they have not yet been analyzed.
Congressman Nereu Crispim, president of the truckers’ caucus, said union leaders “are talking” about a new strike. But the possibility is still remote.
“We have a group of 21 truck drivers who have made their names available as pre-candidates for state and federal representatives in 11 states. So we are going down a path of electing a bench that defends the profession,” he said. The next national leaders’ meeting will be held on June 11.