Petrobras lowers gasoline prices at refineries

(Reuters) - Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras said on Thursday it will cut gasoline prices at its refineries to 3.71 reais ($0.7110) per liter from 3.86 reais starting Friday, a 4% cut that will take prices to their lowest level since March.

The move is the second gasoline price cut by the oil giant this month and comes after it faced intense pressure from President Jair Bolsonaro and federal lawmakers to bring down prices amid soaring inflation and ahead of a general election in October.

Analysts at Credit Suisse said in a note to clients they considered the move "marginally positive" as it would help to ease the political pressure on the company.

The bank said it now sees Petrobras' gasoline at an 8% premium and diesel at a 2% premium over import parity. Diesel prices were kept unchanged at an average 5.61 reais per liter, a level set in mid-June.

Petrobras, which pegs its local fuel prices to international rates including global oil prices and foreign exchange rates, said in a statement the decision was in line with its pricing policy.

"This reduction follows international benchmark prices, which have stabilized at a lower level for gasoline," said Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is formally known.

Preferred shares in Petrobras were up 1.5% at 31.82 reais in mid-afternoon Sao Paulo trading, outperforming Brazil's Bovespa stock index, which rose 0.4%.

On Wednesday, Petrobras gave its board a formal supervisory role over fuel pricing decisions with the approval of a new set of guidelines, under which executives will meet quarterly with members of the board and the company's fiscal committee to discuss how it is setting fuel rates.

($1 = 5.2179 reais) (Reporting by Gabriel Araujo Editing by Christian Plumb and Frances Kerry)

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