Shares in Brazil’s Petrobras plunge 20pc

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Rio de Janeiro

Shares in Brazil’s state-run oil company, Petrobras, plummeted after President Jair Bolsonaro changed the firm’s chief executive, fueling fears he will intervene in energy prices and the economy in general The company’s ordinary shares dived 20.5 percent and preferential shares 21.5 percent on the Sao Paulo stock exchange, which closed down 4.9 percent overall.

Bolsonaro on Friday appointed army reserve general Joaquim Silva e Luna as president of Petrobras, shortly after saying the firm should not be constantly “surprising people” with price increases. Under ousted CEO Roberto Castello Branco, Petrobras had increased fuel prices four times so far in 2021, a cumulative rise of nearly 35 percent.

The increases came as international oil prices, which hit all-time lows last year, returned to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, pushed higher by output cuts in oil-producing countries and optimism that vaccines against Covid-19 will spur a global economic recovery.—AFP

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