Together the greater supply of Brazilian oil for export, the reduction of spread (the price difference) between light and heavy oil, the greater production of diesel on the domestic market and the lower thermal-electric demand should cause state-controlled oil and gas multinational Petrobras to end 2009 with a trade balance surplus higher than the US$ 1.45 billion recorded in the first half.
This information was given by the director of the Refining and Oil Product Area at Petrobras, Paulo Roberto Costa, who did not make an estimate of the surplus, but said that the figures are growing.
Costa also withheld the trade balance result for the third quarter, which ended in September, because the figures have not yet been disclosed to the financial market. He had a meeting with journalists, in Rio, where he spoke about the results reached by the company, which is celebrating the 56th anniversary of its establishment this year.
The company's trade balance result is calculated based on exports and imports of oil products, not considering natural gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and nitrogenated products. The result for the first half of this year was almost 600% greater than in the first half of 2008.
On explaining the set of favorable factors that caused these positive results, Costa recalled that Petrobras is producing, since September last year, around 35,000 more barrels of diesel oil a day, due to technical improvement in the company's refineries.
To this, said the director, may be added the fact that, due to the retraction in domestic demand, the company is importing on average 45,000 barrels a day, against 120,000 barrels of diesel oil imported each day in 2008.
"Diesel has a very high added value and this causes a very positive reflex. Apart from that, we had greater exports of oil, currently at around 500,000 barrels a day, with a July peak of over 600,000 barrels a day, against an average of little over 300,000 barrels a day verified in 2008."
Another fact pointed out by Costa was that "the spread between the price of light oil and heavy oil has dropped. Today, the heavy oil that we are importing has a higher added value, when compared to the light oil, much more than last year. The OPEC [Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries], early this year, cut the offer of heavy oil and the world needs heavy oil to produce bunker fuel [for ships]. There arose a very large window of opportunity for us."
As the country has started selling the great volume of good-quality heavy oil produced at a price very close to that of light oil – which the country still needs to import to mix into heavy oil during refining – another positive factor for the balance of payments result.
Automobile production dropped by 6.7% in September, in comparison with August. According to the National Association of Vehicle Manufacturers (Anfavea), 275,305 vehicles were produced, as against 295,009 in August.
In comparison with September last year, there was a reduction of 8.4%, with 300,688 vehicles manufactured. From January to September, the decrease was 11.5%, with 2,323,648 vehicles produced, as against 2,624,357 in the same period of last year.
With regard to sales, there was growth of 19.6 %. In September, 308,718 vehicles were sold, as against 258,129 units in August. In comparison with the same period of last year, when 268,686 units were sold, there was growth of 14.9%. In the year-to-date result, there was growth of 4.2%, with 2,302,050 vehicles sold, as against 2,208,805 in the same period of 2008.