Petrobras CEO Denies Claims Of ‘Predatory’ Pricing Policy

(Reuters, 13.Jan.2021) — Roberto Castello Branco, chief executive of Brazil’s state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, has dismissed accusations from private fuel importers that the firm is enforcing a price policy that does not reflect market dynamics.

Branco said in the Wednesday edition of daily Valor Econômico that the claims amount to a personal “professional offense” against him and the government’s economic policymakers.

“As graduated economists … we learned over 40 years ago that price controls are part of a museum of ineffective weapons to fight inflation,” Branco was quoted as saying in Valor.

His remarks came as Abicom, a Brazilian association of private fuel importers, filed a complaint last week with antitrust watchdog against the pricing policy the state-run firm.

Petrobras, as the oil company is better known, did not have an immediate comment on Branco’s interview. Neither did Abicom.

“For them, the best scenario in the world is one where Petrobras sets prices up high above international parity. This will make viable those who are more inefficient,” Branco said, according to Valor.

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Reporting by Ana Mano, editing by Louise Heavens