Brazil's Lula decrees extension for tax exemption on fuels

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva takes office as Brazil's President in Brasilia

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's newly sworn-in President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed a decree on Sunday extending for 60 days an exemption for fuels from federal taxes, a measure passed by his predecessor aimed at lowering their cost.

The decree was among the first batch of decisions taken by Lula hours after his inauguration as president, succeeding far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, and officially establishing his cabinet of 37 ministers.

The exemption from federal taxes on fuel represents a revenue waiver of 52.9 billion reais per year, and Economy Minister Fernando Haddad had said that it would not be extended, creating a division in the new cabinet.

Earlier on Sunday, Senator Jean Paul Prates, who is expected to be named chief executive of state-run oil company Petrobras, told reporters that extension of the exemption would go ahead and last 60 days.

Prates said the exemption could be resumed by the new government in a "much more comfortable" way.

He has said that one option under study was an extension for six months or until the end of the year for tax exemptions on diesel and liquefied petroleum gas.

The extension for gasoline was opposed by sectors of the economy, such as the ethanol industry, which loses ground in its tax advantage over gasoline.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Nick Zieminski)