SAO PAULO, May 25 (Reuters) - A nationwide truck drivers’ protest in Brazil was slow to wind down on Friday despite an agreement to end the mobilization, with many highway blockades in place for a fifth straight day rattling sectors from agribusiness to automaking.
Negotiators for several trucker groups agreed late on Thursday to immediately suspend the strike for 15 days after the government vowed to stabilize diesel prices, which could cost it 5 billion reais ($1.4 billion) this year.
To win over truckers, who began the blockades on Monday to protest high fuel prices, the government also promised to extend for 30 days a 10 percent diesel price cut announced by state-led oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA.
Abcam, a trucking group that was a major force behind the strike, was not among the parties that signed on to the accord, raising questions about how truckers around the country would respond to the agreement.
Meanwhile, gas stations remained short of fuel, grocers’ aisles were understocked in many areas and access to the major port of Santos was still blocked. Public transportation and trash collection services have been reduced in major cities such as Sao Paulo because of fuel shortages.
Auto production in Brazil, which accounts for about a quarter of its industrial output, ground to a halt on Friday, according to carmakers association ANfavea, in the latest blow to a fragile economic recovery following the worst downturn in decades. ($1 = 3.65 reais) (Reporting by Gram Slattery Editing by Brad Haynes and Steve Orlofsky)