UPDATE 3-Brazil's Rousseff stands by Petrobras CEO, says pessimism overblown

lunes 22 de diciembre de 2014 16:47 GYT

(Adds Rousseff comment on board changes, share price rise)

By Jeferson Ribeiro

BRASILIA Dec 22 (Reuters) - Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff said on Monday she has no plans to replace the chief executive officer of state-run oil firm Petrobras, saying there was no evidence that senior management was involved in a graft scandal at the company.

Speaking at a year-end breakfast with reporters in Brasilia, Rousseff also said she will take "drastic" measures next year to get Brazil's economy back on track and voiced confidence in a rebound, regardless of how the global economy performs.

She was coy about what the measures might entail, though she played down speculation she would raise taxes to shore up government finances.

The widening Petrobras scandal has overshadowed the debate about what economic steps Rousseff will take when she is sworn in for a second term on New Year's Day and has dominated the president's agenda in recent weeks. It has forced her to vet cabinet appointments to avoid picking anyone implicated.

On Monday, she said the pessimism surrounding Petroleo Brasileiro SA , as Petrobras is formally known, was overblown and that the recent plunge in its shares was exaggerated.

The stock has fallen about 24 percent since police last month arrested a second former Petrobras director as well as scores of executives from engineering and construction companies accused of paying bribes skimmed from overpriced contracts.

Petrobras preferred shares, the company's most-traded class of stock, pared gains after Rousseff's remarks, but was still up 5 percent at 10.32 reais at the end of the day in Sao Paulo. Volume was the lowest in six days.   Continuación...