December 29, 2017 / 6:10 PM / in a year

Brazil imports of refined products to hit at least 17-year high in 2017

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Brazil will import more refined oil products this year than any other since records began in 2000, as state-controlled oil giant Petroleo Brasileiro loses market share to private firms.

In the first 11 months of the year, Brazil imported nearly 207 million barrels of refined products, 25 percent above the same period in 2016 and up from any other full year on record, according to oil regulator ANP.

The world’s most indebted oil company lost market share to rivals following a shift last year to a policy of following international prices.

The move allowed Petrobras, with nearly 100 percent of Brazil’s refining capacity, to boost revenues even as it started to lose sales to rivals like Raisen and Ipiranga.

That convinced the company earlier this year to start shifting prices more quickly, even daily, to keep pace with international ones and avoid pricing above peers.

But Friday’s data suggested the change in policy has not helped reconquer territory lost to firms like Raizen and Ipiranga, even as separate data showed fuel sales in the country have increased just 0.6 percent through November this year. (Reporting by Marta Noguiera; editing by Grant McCool)

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