July 19, 2018 / 10:33 PM / 5 months ago

Brazil oil regulator rules out norms for fuel pricing frequency

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil’s oil regulator ANP said on Thursday it would not establish a minimum frequency for fuel price adjustments, after a nationwide truckers’ protest over rising diesel prices in May cast a spotlight on the issue.

The protests paralyzed Latin America’s largest economy and forced the government to lower diesel prices through tax cuts and subsidies. They also prompted ANP to launch a public consultation from June 11 to July 2, on a potential rule that could set limits on how often fuel prices change in the country.

But Decio Oddone, ANP’s chief, ruled out such a move on Thursday, instead promising that the agency would approve a resolution that would bring more transparency to the fuel sector.

The resolution, which will also lay out rules about the timing of information on price changes, will be put to a public consultation in around 30 days and could go into effect in as little as 60 days, Oddone added.

The crisis renewed a national debate over whether fuel prices should reflect rising international oil costs and shore up the finances of state-run oil giant Petrobras or protect Brazilians still hurting from the worst economic crisis in a generation.

At issue was a decision by Petrobras last year to shift to nearly daily price changes, tracking international markets, part of a bid to restore the company to profitability after years of graft and mismanagement.

Ultimately, President Michel Temer was only able to end the trucker strike by agreeing to cut diesel prices and slow the frequency of price adjustments.

Reporting by Marta Nogueira; writing by Alexandra Alper; editing by James Dalgleish and Diane Craft

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