SAO PAULO, March 4 ― Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro yesterday said state-run oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA could, due to the crisis inflicted by the war in Ukraine, lower its profit to prevent fuel prices from exploding.

In a weekly social media address, Bolsonaro said he was certain Petrobras, as the company is known locally, would do what is necessary to shield Brazilian consumers from suffering steep price increases.

Bolsonaro's comments come after Petrobras last month smashed its all-time record for annual profit and dividend payouts in 2021, thanks to sky-high Brent prices. The remarks could raise fears among investors that he could seek to meddle in the company's price-setting policies.

Petrobras' policy of seeking parity between domestic fuel prices and international markets has angered many Brazilians as the cost of Brent crude has soared. A growing chorus of politicians has said Petrobras should help shoulder the burden.

On Wednesday, Chief Executive Joaquim Silva e Luna told Reuters that Petrobras had not yet taken a decision on fuel price adjustments. ― Reuters