UPDATE 1-Brazil's gasoline, diesel import deficit to rise in 2014 -ANP
(Adds additional fuel import estimates, ethanol industry suggestions)
SAO PAULO, March 17 (Reuters) - Brazil's gasoline and diesel-fuel trade deficit will rise this year compared with 2013, the head of Brazil's petroleum regulator ANP said on Monday, as demand outstrips the capacity of the country's refiners.
Brazil's diesel deficit will likely rise to $9 billion and its gasoline deficit to $2.5 billion in 2014, Magda Chambriard, the ANP's director general, said at an event in Sao Paulo.
In the January-November period of 2013, the diesel deficit was $7 billion and the gasoline deficit nearly $2 billion, Chambriard said, noting she did not have full 2013 numbers.
The predicted rise in the deficit is based on an expected 4 percent increase in fuel demand in Brazil in 2014, Chambriard said. Brazilian fuel demand has been growing at a rate at least two percentage points above the expansion of gross domestic product for several years.
That expansion has outstripped the capacity of the 12 domestic refineries of Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA to meet demand for gasoline and diesel.
Petrobras, as the company is known, has also seen efforts to build new refineries fall years behind schedule. The need to import more fuel, much of it from the United States and India, has saddled Petrobras, the country's dominant oil company and refiner, with growing refining losses.
Because of Brazilian government fuel-price controls, domestic fuel prices are below world prices, forcing Petrobras to take a loss on every barrel of gasoline and diesel it imports. The controls have also lowered economic returns from refining of domestic crude.
Draining cash for fuel subsidies even as it embarks on a $221 billion five-year expansion plan, the company's debt has soared. Fuel price controls have also discouraged competitors from entering Brazil's fuels market as rivals or partners. Continuación...