(Adds background on fuel price debate in Brazil, paragraphs 2-4)
RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Brazil’s state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA has yet to make a decision to adjust the domestic price of key vehicle fuels, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
The statement from Petrobras, as the Rio de Janeiro-based company is known, came after a board meeting that was widely expected to vote in favor of raising gasoline and diesel prices in Brazil for the first time in more than 11 months.
Petrobras refining division has lost more than 59 billion reais ($24 billion) since the end of 2010, in large part because the government refused to let it raise domestic fuel prices in line with world prices. With its 13 domestic refineries unable to meet all Brazil’s rising needs, it must buy fuel abroad, selling every barrel of imported gasoline and diesel at home at a loss.
The government has justified its resistance to fuel-price increases on the grounds that they would spark inflation. Brazil’s consumer prices rose 6.75 percent in October compared with a year earlier, a level above the government’s own 6.5 percent inflation target ceiling. (Reporting by Jeb Blount; Editing by Chris Reese and David Gregorio)