June 5, 2018 / 10:54 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 2-Brazil regulator seeks comment on fuel price change frequency

(Adds Petrobras comment, paragraph 6)

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 5 (Reuters) - Brazilian oil regulator ANP said on Tuesday it would seek public comment over a period of several weeks on a potential rule that could set limits on how often fuel prices change in the country.

The comment period, which will take place from June 11 to July 2, follows a nationwide trucker strike over diesel price hikes last month that paralyzed much of Latin America’s biggest economy.

In an emailed statement, ANP said the process was aimed at soliciting suggestions about a rule that would create a “minimum period” for changing fuel prices.

It was not clear whether the regulator had the power to restrict the frequency of fuel price changes by state-controlled oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras.

The company had adopted a policy of nearly daily adjustments under its former chief executive, pricing changes in alignment with international markets.

In a statement to Reuters, Petrobras said it would join the discussions by the regulator. The company said “price formation based on market prices and more predictability” may increase competition.

Suggestions about a new fuel pricing policy may be sent by consumers, oil companies and state entities, ANP said.

President Michel Temer ended the trucker protest by agreeing to cut diesel prices and change the frequency of price adjustments, wiping out a third of the market cap of Petrobras over fears of growing political interference.

Public anger has also been building over gasoline prices, which have also recently risen and were not addressed by the agreement with the truckers. (Reporting by Alexandra Alper and Roberto Samora; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Peter Cooney)

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