Brazil diesel imports hit record despite drop in local sales


Brazilian diesel imports surged 60 percent to hit a record high in the year to May compared with the same period last year, even as domestic sales slid, Brazil’s oil and fuels watchdog ANP said.

In the first five months of the year, diesel imports hit 4.44 billion liters, ANP said on Friday, while domestic diesel sales fell 2 percent in the same period to 21.6 billion liters, in a sign of a weak economy.

The surge in diesel imports likely reflects Petroleo Brasileiro SA’s slipping diesel market share, as other distributers take advantage of a drop in international prices to lower fuel costs in Brazil, undercutting the state-controlled company.

In a presentation on Friday, Petrobras executives pointed to strong growth in diesel imports by domestic market rivals, in part to explain their decision to adjust fuel prices more often to hue more closely to international markets.

According to Petrobras data, imports by third parties are expected to have risen 25 percent in June to 1.2 billion liters.

In May alone, imports rose 20.8 percent to 803.5 million liters, while diesel sales rose only 2.5 percent to 4.6 billion liters, when compared with the same period last year.

In the case of gasoline-A, or gasoline without ethanol added, imports in the first five months of the year rose 120.7 percent compared with the same period in 2016 to 2.25 billion liters, its highest since 2013.

Meanwhile, sales at gas stations of gasoline-C, which contains anhydrous ethanol, rose 6.5 percent in the first five months of the year to 18.649 billion liters.

Source: Reuters (Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Writing by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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