Brazil's Petrobras scraps publicity contract with McLaren

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Brazil's government says the state-controlled oil company has ended a nearly $200 million advertising agreement with Formula One team McLaren that had been criticized by President Jair Bolsonaro.

The Economy Ministry announced the cancellation Thursday night, saying the five-year deal that took effect this year was "unjustifiable."

Brazil suffered a devastating recession in 2015 and 2016 that sent unemployment surging. Since then, growth has averaged just over 1 percent annually and the International Monetary Fund expects growth below 1 percent this year.

Bolsonaro took office in January and announced in May that his government was seeking a way to cancel the contract.

"Such matters are commercially confidential and therefore we are not able to comment further at this time," McLaren said in an emailed statement Friday.

The government said Petrobras has a new focus on expanding production.

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Updated October 18, 2019

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