Brazil’s leading opposition candidate Jose Serra launched his bid for the presidency in October elections, proposing more efficiency, new trade deals and improved public transportation and security. Serra, of the centrist PSDB party, also criticized high taxes in Latin America’s largest economy and accused the current administration of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of turning a blind eye on human rights abuses abroad. The PSDB, the right-wing Democratas, and the Popular Socialist Party declared their support for the veteran politician at an event in the capital Brasilia (Reuters).
Here are some of Serra’s positions on key issues, based on his or his party’s statements and expert views.
Investment in Brazil should hit 18 percent in 2010, and must stay at multiples of economic expansion to keep the country growing, the president of Brazil’s state development bank, Luciano Coutinho, said (Reuters).
Brazil’s real will surge as much as 10 percent by July as the central bank raises interest rates to stem inflation, spurring purchases by global investors searching for higher yields, forecasts compiled by Bloomberg show.
Brazil’s next government needs to develop the local debt market to help companies finance investment and reduce dependence on the state development bank, said Rio de Janeiro State Finance Secretary Joaquim Levy (Bloomberg).
Chinese President Hu Jintao will discuss with his Brazilian counterpart Lula da Silva China’s bid to build a bullet-train system in the South American nation during his trip there this week. The 34.6 billion reais ($19.6 billion) project to link by high-speed train the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Campinas is a priority among Chinese government representatives. Lula will reinforce Brazil’s interest in maintaining Embraer operations in China (Bloomberg).
The United States and Brazil have reached an agreement aimed at settling a long-standing trade dispute over American subsidies to cotton growers, officials in both countries said. Under the preliminary deal, Brazil would hold off on retaliation in exchange for American concessions that include the modification of an export loan program and the establishment of a temporary assistance fund for the Brazilian cotton industry (The New York Times).
A flexible currency policy in China “would be very good” for the global economy, Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega said (Reuters).
The U.S. government will encourage China, India, Brazil and other fast-growing markets to buy more American goods as part of its bid to double exports in five years (Reuters).
Mining giant Vale rebuffed allegations by European steel industry body Eurofer that it had abused its position as the dominant iron ore producer. Vale, in a press release, tried to turn the tables on the European iron and steel body, saying it has notified the European Commission about its own concerns that Eurofer members may have breached European competition rules by communicating among themselves to coordinate approaches to the ongoing negotiations with Vale (Reuters).
The request byVale for the European Commission to investigate whether steelmakers colluded in price talks is “absurd,” said Eurofer, a group representing steelmakers in Europe (Bloomberg).
United Nations sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program could make the Islamic Republic more radical and cause its population to revolt, Brazil’s foreign minister said (Reuters).
Brazil and the United States will sign a defense-cooperation agreement this week, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said (The New York Times).
Brazil’s air force prefers France’s Rafale jet as its next-generation fighter despite the plane’s higher price tag, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said (Reuters).
On March 29th the Brazilian government announced a new Growth Acceleration Program (PAC2) that will provide R$1.59 trillion (US$880 billion) in infrastructure and public projects as the second phase of the economic stimulus program targeting areas of high social sensitivity such as housing and health. Of that total, R$958 billion will be invested between 2011 and 2014 (Rio Times).
Petrobras said it found light oil in a new well that confirmed its estimate of 5 billion to 8 billion barrels in the Tupi offshore field (Reuters).
Chinese energy companies will likely participate in bidding for Brazil’s offshore subsalt oil reserves when auctions begin and are already seeking to buy stakes in existing oil projects, a top energy official told Reuters.
Petrobras will start output at the Cachalote offshore field in Brazil this quarter with a 100,000-barrel-a- day vessel upgraded by SBM Offshore N.V. SBM of Rotterdam, the world’s largest supplier of floating oil platforms, overhauled the Capixaba production, storage and offloading ship for the project (Bloomberg).
OGX, the oil company controlled by billionaire Eike Batista, said results from two sections of an offshore well in Brazil’s Campos Basin show less crude than any of the company’s previous finds (Bloomberg).
Brazil will cut import tariffs to zero from 20 percent now on ethanol through the end of next year (Bloomberg).
Embraer, the world’s third-largest aircraft manufacturer, said it sold 41 of its jets in the first quarter of 2010, one more than in the same period a year ago (Reuters).
U.S. agribusiness group Bunge will invest $750 million to expand its three largest cane mills in Brazil (Reuters).
Ford Motor Co unveiled plans to build a small sport utility vehicle in Brazil for global markets, boosting its investment plan in the country over the next five years by 500 million reais ($281.4 million) (Reuters).
Brazil’s JBS SA, the world’s largest beef processor, may raise as much as 2.16 billion reais ($1.23 billion) with the sale of new shares to fund its direct distribution business (Reuters).
OSX Brasil SA’s plan to build a shipyard in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina has met with resistance from a federally owned environmental institute (Bloomberg).
Usiminas, Brazil’s second-largest steelmaker, may spin off its mining unit as soon as this quarter as rising iron-ore prices make a share sale more attractive (Bloomberg).
Eike Batisita’s shareholders may benefit most from Chinese President Hu Jintao visit to Brazil this week as the Brazilian billionaire seeks investments for his LLX Logistica Porto Acu project. The Manhattan-sized complex, planned for Rio de Janeiro’s northern coast, will be “a highway to China” and require as much as $50 billion (Bloomberg).
The new bill to distribute oil revenues among Brazil’s states has revived the rancour that long reigned between Rio and the rest of Brazil. It would be sad if it also derailed Rio’s incipient revival. “Resentment plays into the hands of the worst kind of populism,” says Octavio Amorim Neto, a political scientist at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation. Read the opinion of The Economist.
Preparations to receive millions of tourists during the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic games are already well underway in order to present visitors with a safer, cleaner and more modern Rio (Rio Times).
The death toll from mudslides and flooding in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state has risen to 224, its fire department said about a week after heavy rains began pounding the coastal region (Reuters).
Brazil’s government will replenish the capital base of Eletrobras, the country’s largest power holding company, this year as part of a plan to boost transparency and lure investment into electricity, O Estado de S. Paulo said, citing Treasury Secretary Arno Augustin (Reuters).
Petrobras’ Facts and Data blog was granted the Gold Quill Award by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) as the best social media initiative in 2010. Petrobras’ blog won the award for “Excellence,” the most important of the awards. This is the first time a Brazilian blog gets an award from this prestigious U.S. corporate communications institution, which has 15 thousand professional members from 70 countries the world over. Check out the blog (in Portuguese) here.
Brazil’s cultural agenda for 2010 in the Wall Street Journal.