Latin America & Caribbean

Brazil diesel prices cut in effort to halt strike

Lorries block the BR-324 highway during a protest against high diesel prices in Simoes Filho near Salvador, Brazil May 23, 2018. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Lorry drivers block lanes in the a highway near the city of Salvador

The Brazilian state-owned oil company, Petrobras, has announced it is cutting the price of diesel by 10% to give the government time to negotiate with striking lorry drivers.

The announcement comes at the end of the third day of the strike.

Lorry drivers, angry at the rising cost of diesel, have blocked roads, causing chaos in several Brazilian cities.

Many supermarkets have been unable to refill their shelves and some airports said they were running low on fuel.

It is not clear whether the unions will agree to suspend the strike.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A judge has authorised the use of force to clear road blocks on six highways

The Petrobras president, Pedro Parente, said diesel prices would be frozen for 15 days.

"It's an exceptional measure. It doesn't mean the company is changing its pricing policy," said Mr Parente.

"This will give the government 15 days to talk to the truck drivers," he added.

Petrobras intends to gradually resume its policy of tracking international oil prices once the crisis is over.

Fuel prices in Brazil have almost doubled in the past two years, since President Michel Temer took office following the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff.

Most Brazilian states have been affected by the strike.

On Wednesday, a judge in Brasilia authorised the police to use force to clear six of the country's main roads.

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