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Brazil’s Bolsonaro calls Petrobras profits ‘rape’

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro looks on during a ceremony at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil on May 4, 2022.REUTERS/Adriano Machado

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SAO PAULO, May 5 (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday urged state oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA) not to raise fuel prices any further and compared the company’s profits to a “rape” of the country .

The far-right leader said another fuel price hike by Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is officially known, could bankrupt Brazil and cause what he called a “national convulsion”.

Petrobras sets its fuel prices to international crude rather than subsidizing fuel for Brazilians, but many have demanded that it limit price increases for gasoline and diesel, as both have recently soared, which hurt Bolsonaro’s popularity ahead of the October presidential election.

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“Petrobras, we are at war. Petrobras, don’t raise fuel prices anymore. Your profit is like rape, it’s nonsense,” Bolsonaro said during a weekly social media livestream.

Petrobras did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

His remarks came as the oil giant released its first-quarter results, with net profit surging more than 40 times to 44.56 billion reais ($8.9 billion) as oil companies take advantage of the soaring crude prices. Read more

International peers such as Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), Chevron Corp (CVX.N), Shell (SHEL.L), Equinor (EQNR.OL) and BP (BP.L) also posted strong quarterly performances. Read more

The Brazilian president complained about Petrobras increasing its profits during a crisis, saying he couldn’t understand how it was possible and calling it a crime.

He added, however, that he would not interfere with the company’s pricing policy as it was a publicly traded company with other shareholders outside the government.

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Reporting by Gabriel Araujo; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Stephen Coates

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