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Conflict at Petrobras Hits Bond Prices

conflict-at-petrobras-hits-bond-prices

Prices for bonds tied to oil major Petróleo Brasileiro SA fell Monday after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro moved to replace the company’s chief executive.

The company’s $4 billion bond due 2030 recently traded at 105.355 cents on the dollar, according to MarketAxess, down from 108.315 cents Friday. A $2.5 billion bond due 2115 recently traded at 109.585 cents on the dollar, down from 113.530 cents Friday.

Petrobras shares and bond prices fell after Mr. Bolsonaro on Friday nominated an army general, Joaquim Silva e Luna, to take over from CEO Roberto Castello Branco. Shares pared declines but finished the session down more than 21% in Brazil—the second-worst trading day in data going back to September 1992—after reports that Mr. Branco intends to stay on in the job through the end of his official term on March 20.

Recent fuel-price increases have increased tensions between the Petrobras chief executive and Mr. Bolsonaro. Last Thursday, the company said it would raise the price of gasoline by almost 10% and the price of diesel fuel by almost 15%. Mr. Bolsonaro criticized the decisions and promised changes in the following days.

The move spooked investors. Analysts at Bank of America and Credit Suisse, among others, downgraded the company’s stock as tensions between the two men escalated.

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