News from Brazil

Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

Politics & Government

In Brazil on September 24, 2010 at 9:23 am

ELECTIONS

Dilma Rousseff commands 49 percent support among voters against 28 percent for opposition candidate Jose Serra, the Datafolha poll broadcast by TV Globo showed (Reuters).

Dilma Rousseff denied any knowledge of the alleged influence-peddling scheme involving her successor in the chief of staff position, Erenice Guerra (Xinhua).

In an interview with Reuters, the woman who is almost certain to be elected Brazil’s president in October flatly dismissed the need for big budget cuts or changes to some of the world’s most restrictive labor laws. Asked if it was possible for Brazil to keep growing at a 7 percent annual pace without such reforms, Rousseff shook her head, smiled, and interrupted the question (Read on at Reuters).

While the mainstream media focuses on a presidential run which is probably already defined, with President Lula da Silva’s choice Dilma Rousseff way ahead of her opponents in the polls, the “wacky race” for Congress dominates Brazil’s blogosphere and social network websites. Clown Tiririca and dozens of figures from Brazilian sport and showbusiness C-list are fighting for one of the Chamber’s 513 seats (BBC).

No less than 54 positions for the Brazilian Senate are under dispute in the 2010 elections, being two for each state, and 26 senators at the end of their mandates are candidates to reelection. Besides, 13 parliamentarians will try to be elected as state governors, six seek a position as federal deputies, and two intend to be state deputies. One senator is candidate to the Presidency (Senado Federal).

Dilma Rousseff is expected to choose familiar names for her first cabinet if, as expected, she wins the Oct. 3 presidential election. Read who at Reuters.

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FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Brazil’s foreign minister says his country has offered to help Cuba develop small and medium businesses as part of a drive for economic growth (BBC).

The Mercosul Parliament (Parlasul) decided to recommend to the Common Market Council (CMC) the creation of a development agency to assist the member countries’ governments with the elaboration of projects to be financed with resources from the Structural Convergence Fund (Focem) (Senado Federal).

Brazilian intellectuals and Brazilian governments for a long time only had eyes for Europe and the United States, except for a strong interest in the Río de la Plata. When the United States, and by extension the rest of the world, began to regard and treat Brazil as part of ‘ Latin America’, they still did not think of Brazil as an integral part of the region. Since the end of the Cold War, however, Brazil has for the first time pursued a policy of engagement with its neighbours – in South America. Read the full article by Leslie Bethell at the Brazil Institute.

DEFENCE

Brazil has long been an enthusiastic peacekeeper, sending troops to half the 60 or so UN operations since 1948. But in the past few years, peacekeeping has become a more important component of Brazil’s foreign policy, while also playing a role back home. It has served as a way for Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the president since 2003, to boost his country’s standing in the world (The Economist).

Since 1999 the Ukrainian National Space Agency (NSAU) in cooperation with Brazilian Space Agency (AEB) has conducted activities to implement a joint project on creating the Cyclone-4 missile system at the Brazilian subequatorial Alcantara Launch Center. The first launch is scheduled for 2012 (Ukraine State Radio)

France will propose a package of ocean patrol vessels (OPVs), frigates and an auxiliary refueling tanker in competition with Britain and Italy in response to Brazil’s modernization of its surface fleet, the international director for the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) procurement office said (Defensenews).

Brazil’s signing of a new strategic cooperation accord with Britain – adding to a pile of similar deals with other European countries and the U.S. – has underlined its ambition to become Latin America’s pre-eminent military power. A key change in the way Brazil was buying its war machinery, though, was the demand that technology be transferred in each deal (Defensenews).

Artist impresion of the Embraer KC-390 (source: Embraer).

Embraer announced discussions on partnering with the Czech government in the KC-390 program, which could lead to the acquisition of two planes by that country (Embraer).

The United Arab Emirates is the latest nation targeted by Brazil to join Embraer’s KC-390 tanker/transport programme as a supplier and customer (Flightglobal).

LAW ENFORCEMENT

After two serious carjackings in less than 24 hours in the city, motorists are once more on the alert against one of Rio’s most prevalent means of theft (The Rio Times).

Business & Economy

In Brazil on September 24, 2010 at 9:22 am

ECONOMY

Brazilian inflation will end 2011 at 4.95 percent, up from a week earlier forecast of 4.90 percent, according to the median forecast in a September 17 central bank survey of about 100 economists (Bloomberg).

The unemployment rate in Brazil dropped to 6.7 percent in August, compared to 8.1 percent in the same period last year, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) announced (Xinhua).

AGRI

Drought in Brazil, the world’s biggest producer of coffee, sugar and orange, is harming crops and drying the Amazon River to its lowest in 47 years (Bloomberg).

Cosan plans to expand sugar-cane proccessing capacity to between 100 million metric tons and 110 million tons in the next few years (Bloomberg).

BANKING & FINANCE

The performance of the Brazilian banking system has mirrored the strong recovery of the country’s economy with expectations for relatively improved profitability and growth over the next quarters, according to Fitch Ratings (Reuters).

Global private equity investors, buoyed by Brazil’s fast-growing economy, are ramping up takeover and fund-raising activity despite uncertainty in the run-up to the country’s presidential election, which they are treating broadly as a nonevent, industry executives said (Reuters).

UBS, the world’s second-largest money manager for the rich, relaunched its wealth management unit in Brazil, as the fastest economic expansion in almost two decades is boosting the number of millionaires and demand for specialized investment advice (Reuters).

Sales of securities backed by Brazilian real estate assets are surging to a record as homebuilders and mall owners expand amid the fastest economic growth in two decades (Bloomberg).

Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada’s third-largest lender by assets, agreed to buy Dresdner Bank Brasil SA to enter the Brazilian investment-banking market (Bloomberg).

ETHANOL

Not only will Brazil retain its position as the world’s top exporter of ethanol through 2020, Brazil will be THE leading country in a position to consistently supply the global ethanol market (Reuters).

MINING

The Boston Consulting Group says Vale has created more value than any other large firm in the world over the past decade. That Vale has kept its success quiet is partly an accident of history  (The Economist).

Vale announced the successful commissioning of its two large nickel projects, Vale New Caledonia (VNC), formerly Goro, and Onça Puma. VNC is the largest operation in the world based on a nickel laterite limonite deposit, located in New Caledonia in the South Pacific, with an estimated nominal capacity to produce 60,000 metric tons per year of nickel contained in nickel oxide and 4,600 metric tons of cobalt as a by-product. Onça Puma is a nickel operation built on deposits of nickel laterite saprolite in the Brazilian state of Pará, with an estimated nominal production capacity of 58,000 metric tons per year of nickel contained in ferro-nickel, its final product (Vale).

Vale exercised an option to purchase a 51% stake in Sociedade de Desenvolvimento do Corredor do Norte SA (SDCN), owned by the Mozambican company Insitec SGPS SA (Insitec). This acquisition will enable the necessary logistics infrastructure for transporting the output coming from the second phase of Moatize coal project (Moatize II) development (Vale).

Brazil is studying possible changes to mining royalties but will not formally present them until after Congress approves a separate overhaul of mine licensing, Brazil’s mines and energy minister said (Reuters).

Anglo American Plc expects its Minas Rio iron-ore project in Brazil to come on stream in the “foreseeable future,” following delays and cost overruns (Bloomberg).

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OIL

Brazilian state oil company Petrobras raised $70 billion in the world’s biggest share offering, giving the company the financial muscle it needs to tap vast offshore oil reserves (Reuters).

TELECOMS

Brazil’s initiative to boost broadband availability will significantly improve access to broadband service over the next four years, but it is likely to fall short of the government’s aggressive goal of 40 million broadband households by 2014, according to a new report from Pyramid Research (Reuters).

AUTOMOTIVE

The Indian vehicles giant Tata Motors studies the set up of a vehicles plant in Brazil. Ravi Kant, the company’s number 2, confirmed that Tata  will launch a second wave of globalization of its production. According to Kant, lack decide whether the new plant will be locate in Brazil or in Mexico (IndiaBrazil Chamber).

Chery Automobile Co., a Chinese automaker, signed an agreement with Sao Paulo state government to invest as much as $400 million in a car plant in Jacarei. The plant will produce 50,000 cars a year by the end of 2013 (Bloomberg).

Culture & Regional

In Brazil on September 24, 2010 at 9:20 am

BUILDING OF THE WEEK

Render of  the Youturn Pavilion, now at the 29th Art Biennale Sao Paulo, designed by Ben van Berkel’s UNStudio.  The UNStudio Pavilion places itself between artwork, installation and architecture; operating as both a form and a functional structure performing as an activator of events (UNStudio).

FILM

Rio is the meeting point of cinephiles and film industry professionals from around the world during Festival do Rio 2010 (Rio International Film Festival), the 12th edition of Latin America’s biggest film festival (The Rio Times).

“Lula – Brazil’s Son,” an independently produced but glowing portrayal of Brazil’s first working-class president, was selected unanimously by a panel of filmmakers and government officials as the South American country’s candidate for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2011 Academy Awards (Reuters).

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MEDIA

President Lula da Silva’s comments on freedom of the press are “something dangerous” and put him on the tracks of “Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez”, said the president of the Inter-American Press Association (SIP), Alejandro Aguirre in an interview published in Brazilian newspaper O’Globo (Mercopress).

Google was asked by Brazilian officials to remove content from the Web 398 times in the first half of the year, the most by a government, according to a report published today by the Internet-search company (Bloomberg).

AMAZON

The BNDES approved three more Amazon Fund projects. The Fund finances efforts to prevent, monitor and combat deforestation, as well as conservation projects and the sustainable use of the Amazon forests (BNDES).
Between 1996 and 2005 some 19,500 sq km of the Brazilian Amazon were cleared each year. At that rate, a third would be gone by 2050 and the rest might wither. But the rate of clearance has been reduced drastically and in 2008-09 it was at its lowest level for two decades, at a mere 7,008 sq km (The Economist).

An intersting read about saving the Amazon is discussed in The Economist: Sustainable Development in Practice: Lessons Learned From Amazonas,  by Virgilio Viana of the International Institute for Environment and Development.

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SAO PAULO

The city’s 29th Arts Biennal has started!

RECIFE

The Rio Times turns its gaze to Brazil’s North-East this week, and the city of Recife – home to Santa Cruz, Sport Recife, and Náutico football clubs – in their series looking into the venues set to host the 2014 World Cup (The Rio Times).

RIO

Every day tens of thousands of Reais of pirated goods – from computer software and DVDs to trainers and clothing – are sold on the streets of Rio. Focused around the SAARA covered market of Uruguiana in Centro, it’s a black market industry worth billions of dollars, but figures released last week show that the authorities are slowly stemming the flow (The Rio Times).

Driving along Avenida das Américas in Barra da Tijuca, it is hard not to notice two lone, circular towers among the square apartment blocks and sprawling shopping malls. Located just opposite the ‘Hipermercado Extra’, one of the Oscar Niemeyer-designed apartment buildings sits happily occupied while its brother, Torre Abraham Lincoln, has remained empty and unfinished since construction was halted in 1972 (The Rio Times).

Having hit a new record of over 70,000 visitors last year and with the forthcoming, and much-needed, renovations set to start in early 2012, Rio Zoo is slowly closing in on claiming a spot on the city’s famous list of tourist destinations (The Rio Times).

Government & Politics

In Brazil on September 17, 2010 at 9:48 am

ELECTIONS

Brazil’s main opposition presidential candidate, Jose Serra, blasted the ruling party’s front-runner with accusations of graft and dirty campaign tactics in a last-ditch attempt to dent her huge lead (Reuters).

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s chief of staff quit over an ethics scandal, in a bid to stave off possible damage to Lula’s front-running candidate in the presidential election next month (Reuters).

The incumbent governor of Rio de Janeiro state, Sergio Cabral is running for re-election to a second term at the state’s highest elected office, and has assumed a comfortable lead (The Rio Times).

Dilma Rousseff defended her country’s relations with Iran. In a visit to the Jewish Federation of the State of Sao Paulo, Rousseff explained that the government’s approach with Iran represented a commitment to peace (Xinhua).

Lula was at the centre of the first question to be pitched in the latest TV presidential debate held at Sao Paulo-based TV station, RedeTV (BBC).

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Brazil expanded the offshore area where drilling for crude or prospecting for minerals requires government authorization as it seeks to increase control over natural resources (Bloomberg).

DEFENCE

The first meeting took place of the India-Brazil joint defence committee, with a focus on taking advantage of each other’s defence production capabilities. The meeting aims to build upon the existing bilateral defence cooperation agreement to explore co-development and co-production in aeronautics, ship-building and sub-systems such as software, avionics and ordnance (Times of India).

For example, an Indian built Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEWCS) will be integrated into the Brazilian Embraer-145 Aircraft, which will fly in the country in January 2011 (Sify).

South Africa’s defence contractor Denel has a partnership with Brazil, which includes the R1-billion A-Darter missile programme. Some 40 engineers and air force staff from Brazil working on the project. Both Brazil and South Africa identified a need for short-range missiles, which was one of the reasons for the development of the A-Darter missile. For Brazil, the technology transfer is invaluable (Engineeringnews).

The purpose of the visit of the British Royal Navy’s HMS Ocean was threefold; conducting an amphibious exercise with the Brazilian Marines, hosting a defense industry day with the likes of British Aerospace presenting projects to Brazil’s defense ministry and a security seminar, culminating in the signing of a new defense cooperation agreement between the UK and Brazil (The Rio Times).

Britain and Brazil are to sign a defense agreement the UK government hopes will pave the way for a multi-billion dollar contract for BAE systems to supply vessels to Brazil’s navy (Reuters).

Argentina could soon join with other countries in the region to help develop a military transport plane built by Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer (Reuters).

Embraer also signed a letter of intent with Portugal’s government to help develop a military transport plane, the fourth such agreement in two months (Reuters).

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LAW ENFORCEMENT

The Brazilian authorities say they have rescued 95 farm workers who were being kept in slave-like conditions in two south-eastern states (BBC).

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Business & Economy

In Brazil on September 17, 2010 at 9:46 am

ECONOMY

Brazil created a record number of payroll jobs for the month of August in a sign that its economy is growing at a solid pace (Reuters).

Brazil vowed to defend its exporters as governments worldwide moved to weaken their currencies as a way of speeding up an economic recovery (Reuters).

The Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) said the middle class or C class has gathered 94.9 million Brazilians, or 50.5 percent of the country’s population, and 30 million of them are newcomers since President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office in 2003 (Xinhua).

AVIATION

Embraer, set up in 1969 as an aspiring national aircraft-maker by Brazil’s military government and privatised in 1994, has since established itself as the world’s third-largest producer of commercial jet aircraft and the market leader in jets with 50-120 seats (The Economist).

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BANKING

Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada’s third-biggest bank, agreed to buy the Brazilian wholesale banking unit of Commerzbank AG for an undisclosed sum, looking to benefit from a surge in investments in Brazil’s oil, natural gas and mining industries (Reuters).

OIL

Brazil’s oil production in August hit a record of 2.078 million barrels per day (bpd), the country’s National Petroleum Agency said, topping the previous record of 2.077 million bpd in April (Reuters).

Brazilian state oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA) expects the giant Tupi offshore area to reach production of 100,000 barrels per day by 2012 (Reuters).

Billionaire Eike Batista, owner of oil start-up OGX, said he is not interested in purchasing assets put up for sale in Brazil by Royal Dutch Shell (Reuters).

China’s Sinopec Group and CNOOC Ltd are bidding for stakes in OGX assets in a potential $7 billion deal (Reuters).

Brazil’s offshore Libra oil prospect contains approximately 8 billion barrels of oil, a government energy official said, vastly boosting a previous estimate of 5.5 billion barrels and possibly making it the second-largest crude discovery in a decade (Reuters).

ELECTRA

Eletrobras may get $1.5 billion in loans from French banks and $500 million from the World Bank, Muniz said. The French banks may offer loans because Eletrobras plans to buy nuclear-power equipment from Paris-based Areva SA for its Angra 3 project in Brazil (Reuters).

INFRA

China Develoment Bank Corp. and the Export-Import Bank of China are ready to lend to a group of companies bidding for Brazil’s bullet-train project (Bloomberg).

PORTS

LLX Logistica and the local unit of Argentine steelmaker Ternium agreed to build a steel mill in LLX’s Super Porto de Acu to take advantage of access to massive iron ore deposits and a growing transport infrastructure (Reuters).

Brazil’s Gerdau, agreed to buy California-based steelmaker Tamco for $165 million in cash, to position itself for an expected revival of the construction industry on the U.S. West Coast (Reuters).

INNOVATION

Brazil is preparing to use its first locally-designed microchip in cattle earrings, a device that could eventually help authorities crack down on destruction of the Amazon rain forest caused by roaming herds (Reuters).

Brazil hopes that spurring its electronics industry will help it innovate new technology for other parts of its sprawling economy that include commodities, mining, biofuels, and deep-water oil exploration. Reuters sums up some of Brazil’s principal innovations.

Billionaire Eike Batista said he is planning an electric car factory with an investment of around $1 billion that will produce 100,000 vehicles per year within four years (Reuters).

Culture & Regional

In Brazil on September 17, 2010 at 9:44 am

BUILDING OF THE WEEK

Artist impression of the bridge to be built between Santos and Guaruja cities.  Santos is South America’s busiest port. If pooled together, the cities and ports around Santos Bay (Santos, Cubatao, Guaruja, Sao Vicente) constitute a major industrial, logistical and tourism hub on Brazil’s southeastern coast, with over 1,2 million inhabitants (Source Picture: Prefeitura de Santos).

CULTURE

As contemporary arts move closer and closer to exploring their realm and capabilities by pushing their limits, they also increasingly adopt the medium of another. The recent programming by Oi Futuro cultural centers reflects this trend, exhibiting projects of visual poetry, musical books, and numerous installations that borrow and mix elements from cinema, music, poetry, painting, and photography (The Rio Times).

BACKLANDS

Brazil launched a new plan to save its immense savannah, an expanse of wild, bio-rich grassland at risk from encroaching farmland, by boosting spot checks and sustainable development (France24).

BELO HORIZONTE

The city sits in the beautiful rural landscape of Minas Gerais State. Built on hills and surrounded by mountains, the capital city of Minas is home to several parks, including the ‘Parque das Mangabeiras’ which boasts superb views of the city and the surrounding countryside (The Rio  Times).

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RIO

In this day and age a good education is the most valuable asset one can have in an increasingly competitive professional world. Accordingly, The British School, Rio de Janeiro has been setting its sights, and by extension its pupils’, high, offering a balanced curriculum with a global approach (The Rio Times).

On a clear Rio day, when the sun shines and the haze subsides, a mountain range is visible at the northern end of Guanabara Bay. The peaks form part of the Serra dos Mar mountain range and lie within the 110km2 Serra dos Orgãos National park (The Rio Times).

Rio police arrested 13 suspected soccer hooligans at the start of a campaign to eradicate fan violence from the game before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil (Reuters).

The government of Rio de Janeiro lauched a project of 8 million Real (about 470 US dollars) to renovate the city’s landmark Lapa Arches and its surrounding areas (Xinhua).

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Politics & Government

In Brazil on September 10, 2010 at 11:15 am

ELECTIONS

Dilma Rousseff looks unstoppable. How much power will she wield? The biggest constraint on Ms Rousseff’s power may come from within her own party (The Economist).

Brazilian presidential candidate Jose Serra, trying to prevent a landslide defeat in next month’s election, is accusing his opponent’s party of using dirty tricks to gather private tax records of his supporters and family (Bloomberg).

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POLITICS

Perhaps more than any other challenge facing Brazil today, education is a stumbling block in its bid to accelerate its economy and establish itself as one of the world’s most powerful nations, exposing a major weakness in its newfound armor (The New York Times).

The World Health Organization (WHO) released  a report urging the Brazilian government to meet funding needs of its public health system (Xinhua).

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FOREIGN AFFAIRS

U.K. business is to be encouraged to take the reins and help foster a new model in Anglo-Brazilian relations, with the comforting and potentially highly lucrative backdrop of an Olympic handover to help pave the way. At least, that’s how the Brits see things (The Rio Times).

Brazilian consumers and companies have lost nearly $4 billion and could lose billions more in the coming years due to neighboring countries’ intervention in energy contracts, an industry report says (Reuters).

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva boasted of having won trade disputes against the United States and likened his country to a mouse that scared an elephant (Reuters).

Brazil and Argentina will cooperate on accelerating the productive integration of automobile parts within the Mercosur regional block, industry ministers of the two countries said (Xinhua).

Brazil said it supports presence of UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) despite allegations of the peacekeepers’ slow response to mass rapes there (Xinhua).

DEFENCE

Brazil’s military struggle to define their purpose. The army’s “strategic priority” in the coming years will be the Amazon. The number of border posts where troops will be stationed will be increased, and still more soldiers will be trained in the art of jungle warfare  (The Economist).

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Business & Economy

In Brazil on September 10, 2010 at 11:14 am

ECONOMY

Brazil’s real crept higher as investors defied attempts by the country’s central bank to weaken the currency and protect local exporters. Euphoria over huge foreign investment in Latin America’s biggest economy has boosted the real, lifting it last week to its strongest level against the U.S. dollar this year (Reuters).

Caixa Economica Federal, Brazil’s largest home lender, raised its forecast for mortgage loans by 17 percent in 2011 because of higher-than-expected demand from Brazilians for new housing (Reuters).

Brazilian central bank policy makers said that risks to a benign inflation scenario in the country are falling because of higher borrowing costs and the reversal of economic stimulus measures that bolstered activity during a short-lived recession last year (Reuters).

Brazil’s production of new cars and trucks rose for a second straight month in August, while sales set a monthly record, as automakers sought to meet rising demand for new vehicles in domestic and international markets (Reuters).

Brazil’s government boosted the amount of investment loans made available through the state development bank by 90 billion reais ($52.2 billion), as it seeks to spur activity in the capital goods, exports and technological innovation sectors (Reuters).

Brazil’s economy is forecast to expand by 7.34 percent in 2010, up strongly from the 7.09 percent estimate the previous week, and compared with 7.12 percent about one month ago, according to the central bank survey (Reuters).

Brazil’s strong domestic demand has contributed greatly to the vigorous recovery of the country’s industry, the sector hit hardest by the 2008 global financial crisis (Xinhua).

The number of liquidated companies in Brazil was up 18.9 percent in August compared to July, credit consulting company Serasa Experian said (Xinhua).

Brazil ranks third in the list of priority global investment destinations for the next two years, after China and India, says the latest survey released Monday by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) (Xinhua).

BANKING & FINANCE

BTG Pactual, the Brazilian securities firm controlled by billionaire Andre Esteves, is in talks to raise about $1.5 billion from sovereign wealth funds in Asia and the Middle East, Valor Economico newspaper reported (Reuters).

Mining company Vale has launched a two-tranche, $1.75 billion bond sale (Reuters).

Axxon Group Private Equity, a Brazilian buyout firm, plans to raise as much as 500 million reais ($290 million) to speed up purchases of local companies linked to consumer growth (Bloomberg).

Banco do Brasil SA is likely to lend $223 million to Israel’s Merhav to help finance an ethanol plant in Colombia (Bloomberg).

Banco do Brasil SA is also studying the purchase of a “small” bank in Peru and may complete a transaction within weeks to help promote trade between Brazil and the neighboring country (Bloomberg).

Brazil’s lack of long-term private financing stems from a shortage of instruments to help financial institutions raise capital, according the country’s national development bank (Bloomberg).

AGRI

Brazil’s grain production in 2010 will rise 10.5 percent compared to last year. the country’s Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) announced (Xinhua).

OIL & GAS

The eyes of the global oil industry will be on Rio de Janeiro as it once again hosts the biennial expo Rio Oil & Gas, the biggest event of its kind in Latin America, which is set to be held between September 13-16, 2010 at the city’s principal convention center, Riocentro in Barra da Tijuca (The Rio Times).

Brazil will auction off  production rights to oil in the vast offshore Franco prospect that is not used in an oil-for-shares swap with state oil company Petrobras (Reuters).

Global oil company Royal Dutch Shell unveiled plans on Wednesday to sell its stake in four Brazilian offshore blocks, including a field in the vast deepwater subsalt region (Reuters).

PORTS

Shipments from Brazil’s largest port have been delayed by heavy rains and a rising number of vessels from the food industry. Ships will wait a record 29 days before loading this month at the Santos port in Sao Paulo state, Nicolle Alves de Castro, a commercial associate at research firm Santos Associados Consultoria Ltda, said (Bloomberg).

MINING & MINERALS

Brazil Potash Corp.  is pleased to announce the discovery of new potash mineralization on its Amazon Potash Project in Amazonas State. The project is located within the Amazon Basin adjacent to the Petrobras Fazendinha and Arari Potash deposits (Reuters).

Bahia Mineracao Ltda, the mining company controlled by Zamin Ferrous and Eurasian Natural Resources Corp., is seeking $1.4 billion of loans from Brazilian banks to finance an iron-ore project in the country’s northeast (Bloomberg).

RETAIL

Grupo Pao de Acucar, Brazil’s largest retail group, is in talks with several large local banks over a consumer finance venture to help fund the purchase of home appliances (Reuters).

Pao de Acucar said  its home appliances unit will likely have more than 20 billion reais ($11.6 billion) in sales next year (Reuters).

AVIATION

Aircraft maker Embraer won a $1 billion loan commitment from a group of 25 banks to finance exports and working capital needs, indicating that the company was gaining access to credit in a bullish corporate debt market (Reuters).

American Airlines announced it will begin three days a week service between Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (GIG) starting Dec. 16 (Reuters).

Qantas Airways Ltd. is considering starting flights to either Sao Paulo or Rio de Janiero in Brazil (Bloomberg).

INFRA

CSN, Brazil’s largest diversified steel group, expects its $2.6 billion railway and logistics project Transnordestina to start operations by the end of 2012, in a move that could help the company transport more than 30 million tonnes of cargo a year across the nation’s fastest-growing region (Reuters).

Culture & Regional

In Brazil on September 10, 2010 at 11:13 am

BUILDING OF THE WEEK

Entrance of the Brazilian Pavillion at the Architecture Biennale of Venice (Picture: George Brugmans).

FILM

With Brazil’s film industry in the midst of a major resurgence, local filmmakers, intent on chronicling the country’s character in unflinching fashion, find themselves at odds with a strategy to improve the global perception that Brazil is a crime-ridden land with little to offer the international film community (Reuters).

A fly-on-the-wall documentary that plays like  “Cops” only with fewer drunks, “Sequestro (Kidnapping)” follows the day-to-day operations of the anti-kidnapping division of the São Paulo Police Department in Brazil (The New York Times).

The 12th Festival do Rio (Rio Film Festival) will take place between 24th September and 8th October. The event, which will show national and international movies in various venues across the city, promises to be special this year (Rio Official Guide).

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AMAZON

Brazil’s Amazon basin forest and the Pantanal area, both home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, are experiencing a severe drought (France24).

RIO

Opened at the beginning of the year at the ground floor, in Hotel Tulip Inn Copacabana, at Avenida Atlântica avenue, Branche Restaurant, Bar & Lounge has already become one of the finest choices of restaurants by the shore in town (Rio Official Guide)

One of the most popular activities for visitors to Rio de Janeiro are the controversial favela jeep tours. While guides often contribute a percentage of their fee to projects in those communities, as yet the people in the locals themselves have had little opportunity to be actively involved in the process of satisfying tourist curiosity in favela life (The Rio Times).

Undoubtedly one of the city’s most charming neighborhoods and often referred to as a city within a metropolis, Santa Teresa is almost impossible not to fall in love with. Full of beautiful architecture and some stunning villas and mansions overlooking Guanabara Bay, to live there is a lifestyle choice (The Rio Times).

The city’s famous Maracana stadium, a tourist attraction, sports venue and building of historical significance, closes it’s doors for up to two years this week, as the iconic arena goes through a major overhaul to meet the requirements of the 2014 World Cup. The renovations are set to cost close to US$400 million (The Rio Times).

Until the 26th September, the Langsdorff Expedition is on show in the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil in the City Centre.  The exhibition will relate the details of Langsdorff first exploratory expedition in Brazilian territory accomplished between 1821 and 1829 under the leadership of the Russian German physician Georg Heinrich Langsdorff (Rio Official Guide).

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Politics & Government

In Brazil on September 3, 2010 at 10:04 am

ELECTIONS

Brazil’s struggling opposition candidate has gone on the attack against election front-runner Dilma Rousseff, accusing her of involvement in a brewing scandal over illegal access to banking details (Reuters).

In the last of the three profiles of the leading presidential candidates, The Rio Times looks into the life and achievements of Marina Silva of the Green Party.

There are nine candidates for president; 155 for state governor; 220 for senator; 5,147 for federal deputy; 12,525 for state deputy; and 814 for district deputy, besides senator substitutes and candidates for vice-president and vice-governors (Senado).

Presidential front-runner Dilma Rousseff said she will not tighten fiscal policy, in her strongest comments to date on how she would sort out public accounts if elected. “I will not implement fiscal adjustment under any circumstance for one reason: Brazil does not need it,” Rousseff told reporters in Sao Paulo (Reuters).

Carlos Ayres Britto, vice president of the country’s Supreme Court,  suspended a rule banning TV and radio programs from poking fun at candidates in the country’s October 3 elections (Reuters).

POLITICS

September 7th is Brazil’s “Dia da Independência” (Independence Day), celebrating 188 years of sovereignty. Around the country mini-carnivals are held with flags, balloons, and streamers decorating the streets. People of all ages take part, and in the evening fireworks light up the Brazilian sky (The Rio Times).

The Superior Electoral Court (TSE) has judged that the “Clean Record” Law, besides being applicable to this year’s election, will also affect candidates that were convicted before its enforcement (Senado).

On August 23rd the Diário Oficial da União published an order signed by President Lula, approving a formal Opinion (Parecer CGU/AGU No. 01/2008) issued by the government’s lawyers the A.G.U. (Advocacia-Geral da União), reinstating the validity of a law from 1971 which placed limits on the acquisition of rural land by Brazilian companies majority owned by foreigners (The Rio Times).

RISK

Heavy government spending, oil policies and the new balance of power in Congress after the presidential election are among the risks to watch in Brazil over the next year (Reuters).

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FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, may grant Brazil access to its oil and gas industry in return for the South American country’s participation in two hydropower projects, the Nigerian vice president said (Bloomberg).

Brazil and Colombia signed cooperation agreements to strengthen overall unity and regional stability during Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’s first official visit to Brazil (Xinhua).

DEFENCE

General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) will deliver the first three of 18 GDELS-Mowag Piranha IIIC 8×8 armoured vehicles to the Brazilian Marine Corps (Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais – CFN) in September. Final deliveries of the fully amphibious 18.5-tonne vehicles are scheduled for December 2014 (Jane’s).

Embraer signed a letter of intent with the Colombian government to help develop a military transport plane, following similar deals with the Brazilian and Chilean airforces (Reuters).

LAW ENFORCEMENT

Brazilian police have arrested almost the entire local council in the southern city of Dourados, leaving an unprecedented power vacuum (BBC).

Spanish police say they have broken up a sex trafficking ring which brought mostly young Brazilian men to Spain to work as prostitutes (BBC).

SOCIAL

Fat girls on Ipanema? Brazilians’ waistlines are bulging, belying the country’s image as a place of buff sun worshipers and lithe soccer players (Reuters).

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