The US decision to ban the purchase of Russian oil raises fears of escalating inflation in the world. Experts assess the scenario
US President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday (3/8) the ban on imports of Russian oil into the country, as another measure to impact Russia’s economy due to the war in Ukraine.
In his speech, Biden admitted that the attitude can raise the prices of barrels around the world: “We understand that Putin’s war is driving prices up, but that is no excuse for companies to raise them too much,” he concluded.
Oil has already reached US$ 130 a barrel, and the forecast is that it will continue to rise – by how much, no one dares to say.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak was the only one to guess a figure, when he warned of the effects of an eventual US decision to stop buying Russian oil, a day before the measure was effectively announced by Biden. . Saying that the sanction would have “catastrophic consequences for the global market”, Novak predicted the rise of the barrel of oil to up to US$ 300.
If the price of a barrel effectively more than doubles, and the costs are fully passed on to consumers around the world, the prospect is for a frightening escalation of inflation. In Brazil, gasoline could, for example, exceed R$ 15 a liter.
Everything will then depend on how the world tries to circumvent the boycott of Russian production, the second largest exporter of the product on the planet, after Saudi Arabia.
The US, anticipating the scale of the problem, is already moving. They went to knock on the doors of their old rival, the Chavista Nicolás Maduro, president of Venezuela, to try to isolate Russia and guarantee a new source of oil supply.
Specialists consulted by Metrópoles assess the possible impacts of the post-decision scenario in the US for the pockets of Brazilians.
For André Perfeito, chief economist at Necton, the forecasts are not encouraging: “Fuel prices, which were already rising, should increase again”, he explains, recalling the recent and recurring increases in pumps at gas stations across the country.
According to Perfect, the impact of this measure will fall on Petrobras and its ability to manage the national crisis. Despite having large oil reserves in its territory, around 30% of the domestic market depends on the import of refined products made by private companies and the state company. Petrobras had been adopting constant fuel price adjustments, based on the international price of the product.
In an attempt to mitigate the impact on Brazilians’ pocketbooks and on inflation, the government is considering approving a subsidy to cushion the rapid rise in oil prices. The program is expected to last three to six months, costing the public coffers billions.
The federal government’s proposal is to stipulate a fixed reference value for the price of fuels and subsidize the difference between this value and the international price of oil. Payment would be made to fuel producers and importers.
For Luciana Reis, a specialist in the oil, gas, infrastructure, energy sector and a partner at Barcellos Tucunduva Advogados, the alternative proposed by the federal government will hardly be able to hold the price of oil for a long time.
“As we are not self-sufficient in oil products, we will have to continue importing, even with the high price. On sale, however, the value will have to be cheaper than the purchase price, so as not to impact the country’s production chain”, he explains.
Reis also criticizes the proposed participation adopted by the government to Petrobras. The specialist argues that the company has good financial health to need this type of support: the state-owned company recorded a record net profit of R$ 106.6 billion last year.
“We will have public resources in a company that does not need this”, argues Luciana.