Wed, 14 Apr 2021

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Shares of state-owned oil company Petrobras fell 22 percent on Monday, wiping out $13 billion in market value.

In response, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro complained about the company's pricing policies, as he replaced the company's market-friendly CEO, Roberto Castello Branco, with retired army general Joaquim Silva e Luna.

After a series of analyst downgrades, the selloff accelerated as Bolsonaro said the company's fuel policy was only assisting financial markets and select groups in Brazil and should, instead, focus on bringing about lower gasoline and diesel prices for consumers.

Further difficulties were reported as shares in state electric company Eletrobras also fell on Monday, responding to Bolsonaro's statement that it would be the next sector in which the government would "stick its finger".

Worldwide, Credit Suisse, Santander, Scotiabank, Bank of America, Bradesco and XP analysts also downgraded their recommendations to purchase Brasileiro SA, as the Rio de Janeiro-based producer is known.

"A good reputation is hard to earn and easy to lose," BTG bank analyst Thiago Duarte said in a note to clients.

In response to the falling oil stock, Brazil's bonds suffered losses, as the 2043 bond fell 7.6 cents to trade at a seven-month low of 98 cents on the dollar.

Following this, Morgan Stanley removed its "like" recommendation on Brazil's sovereign bonds on Monday.

Meanwhile, retired general Silva e Luna, who lacks oil and gas industry experience, said in an interview that he does not have an opinion on the eventual privatization of the company.

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