State oil company Petrobras lost 32.4 billion reais (about 8.33 billion dollars) in market value in a day after the company canceled the diesel price hike following pressures from Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro.
The company's shares plunged 8% amid investor concern with the interference of the Brazilian president in the company's pricing policy, a fall that dragged the Sao Paulo stock exchange, which lost 1.98 %.
The head of state, who during the electoral campaign defended a non-interventionist liberal policy, vetoed the decision to increase by 5.7% the price of diesel, planned by the oil company itself.
"I called the president (of Petrobras) Yes, I was surprised with the readjustment of 5.7% I'm not going to be an interventionist, I'm not going to practice the policy we did in the past, but I want to see the Petrobras numbers," he said. Bolsonaro during a visit to the city of Macapá, in the north of the country.
Later, after the sharp fall of the company's papers, the president called for a meeting with technicians and ministers next Tuesday to discuss the prices of Petrobras, an open-capital company with shares traded on the New York stock exchange. Sao Paulo and Madrid.
"In principle, the president understands that Petrobras, a company with open capital, subject to market rules, should not suffer political interference in its management, in fact, it is one of the reasons for the crisis we have suffered in past governments." , said the spokesman of the Presidency, Otavio Do Rego Barros.
Later, Bolsonaro remarked on his Twitter account that his government's policy "is open market and not intervention in the economy" and that the suspension of readjustment is temporary, in an attempt to calm the markets after the turbulence that generated this Friday his decision in the Sao Paulo stock exchange.
The increase in the price of diesel was the reason for a truckers' strike that in May last year, during the government of Michel Temer, practically paralyzed the country for 11 days and caused the shortage of food and gasoline, among other products.
The market questioned the decision of Bolsonaro and the bank BTG Pactual on Friday published a report with the title "Deja Vu", referring to the freezing of the price of fuel during the management of Dilma Rousseff, who was dismissed in 2016 for irregularities fiscal in public accounts.
"While the consequence of a new strike would probably be negative for the country's growth agenda and even for Petrobras, the perception that the company is exposed to political influence, even with a liberal agenda, puts its central pillar of reduction in risk at risk. risks ", highlighted BTG.