Gas cylinder consumes up to 13% of the minimum wage, the highest level in 16 years
Those who earned a minimum wage (R$ 1,212) in May had to commit up to 13.2% of their monthly income to buy a 13 kg gas cylinder, whose maximum price has been at R$ 160 since March. This percentage is the highest level reached in 16 years, since 2006, when the highest value of the cylinder corresponded to 15% of the minimum wage at the time (R$ 300).
To carry out this survey, the UOL used as a basis data from the ANP (Agência Nacional do Petróleo, Gás Natural e Biocombustíveis), which has carried out weekly research on fuel prices since 2001, and the history of minimum wage values maintained by Ipea (Institute of Applied Economic Research).
In May, the most expensive gas cylinder in Brazil was found by the ANP in Caçador (SC), at R$ 160. The price is equivalent to 13.2% of the current minimum wage, which is R$ 1,212.
It is the highest percentage achieved since January, February and March 2006, when the most expensive cylinder cost R$ 45 in the cities of Alta Floresta (MT) and Tarauaca (AC), according to the ANP.
Earning a minimum wage at the time (R$300), consumers spent up to 15% of their monthly income to buy a gas cylinder.
In 2019, Economy Minister Paulo Guedes promised to cut the price of cooking gas in half – a reduction that would come from the opening of this market in Brazil. Since then, however, the price of the cylinder has already accumulated a high of more than 60%.
For specialists consulted two weeks ago by the UOL, the promise was a mistake and did not take into account the social role of cooking gas, which deserved a different pricing policy than that adopted for other oil products. The government did not comment on the matter.
Minimum wage without real increase
Added to the rise in cooking gas prices, there is also the fact that the minimum wage has not appreciated as it used to.
Until 2019, the minimum wage was adjusted based on the previous year’s inflation, measured by the INPC (National Consumer Price Index), and on the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) variation of two years earlier. This formula was intended to ensure that the minimum rose in real terms—that is, above inflation—every year.
But from 2019, the first year of Jair Bolsonaro in the presidency, the calculation started to take into account only inflation, discarding variations in GDP. As a result, the minimum wage has not increased in real terms (above inflation) for three years.