BRASILIA, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The board of Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras will delay until next week a meeting about a new pricing formula which would narrow the gap between low local fuel prices and higher international ones, the country's finance ministry said on Wednesday.
Finance Minister Guido Mantega, who is the chairman of the board, told financial newspaper Valor Economico on Wednesday that the meeting was delayed till Nov. 28 to allow more time to study the new methodology. He added that no decision has been made yet on a fuel price hike.
The new formula is expected to automatically adjust domestic fuel prices in line with international costs. The current gap has triggered more than $10 billion in losses for Petrobras over the past couple of years. The government forces Petrobras to keep the prices of gasoline and diesel down as a way to contain inflation.
An increase in fuel prices could stoke already high inflation and hurt President Dilma Rousseff's efforts to jump-start an economy that has been stuck in a rut for the last three years.
Higher consumer prices could also erode Rousseff's popularity ahead of next year's presidential election, which she is widely expected to run.