News from Brazil

Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Politics & Government

In Brazil on January 28, 2011 at 10:05 am

POLITICS

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is trying to show she is different from former president Lula da Silva. Rousseff prefers strict rules and technical work as opposed to Lula’s political more relaxed way of governing (Mercopress).

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INTERNATIONAL

U.S. President Barack Obama plans to visit Brazil in March in a sign that ties between the two countries are substantially improving after a year of tension over Iran, Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported (Reuters).

Oliver Stuenkel is back with a new and interesting article: “Shouldn’t Brazil consolidate its regional leadership in South America before seeking a global role? If it is incapable of exercising leadership on the regional level, how does it justify claim to global recognition?”

INTERNATIONALISATION

The first Brazilian company to complete a public project in the country, Odebrecht celebrates 20 years of operations in the United States in 2010. The construction company has completed 55 projects throughout its history and is currently present in Florida and Louisiana. In the country, Odebrecht has also been in California, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Odebrecht arrived to U.S. soil after it won the public bid to build a stretch of the Metromover, Miami’s above-ground subway. Soon after, in 1992, Odebrecht was responsible for building Route 56, a highway in the region of San Diego, California (Odebrecht).

Eike Batista’s EBX Group is consolidating its overseas presence through the creation of EBX International and the opening of an office in New York. As a result of this international expansion, the group — which is headquartered in Rio de Janeiro and has operations in nine states in Brazil — will intensify relationships with investors located in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East while also enhancing its ability to prospect for new business opportunities (EBX).

Reinforcing its internationalization strategy, on October 7 Braskem inaugurated the new Colombian office, which, together with the Singapore office, is set to begin operating still in 2010. Braskem also expanded the office located in Rotterdam, Holland, which sells thermoplastic resins (Odebrecht).

The CEO of Banco do Brasil, Aldenir Bendine, said this week that an accord will be signed within the next 60 days with Portuguese bank Banco Espírito Santo, with which it will begin a joint venture in Africa. Operations will begin in Cape Verde and Angola (A Semana).

Brazil’s big business companies are rapidly establishing themselves or expanding abroad. Which world cities are most ready to attract Brazilian investment? Of course New York, London and Paris are among the first to receive Brazilian businesses, but other cities are doing fine to: Miami, the US gateway to Latin America, Lisbon with its Portuguese culture and language, Luanda, the dynamic and Portuguese-speaking capital in booming Angola, just across the South Atlantic, Singapore, Asia’s logistics hub and Rotterdam, Europe’s logistical centre of excellence and the Atlantic’s largest port.  Where do you think Brazilian companies are heading?

DEFENSE

The Federative Republic of Brazil is forecast to commit USD82 billion to military procurement between 2010 and 2014 as the South American state continues the implementation of its 2008 National Defense Strategy through the renewal of its military infrastructure and the replacement of outdated equipment. The bow-wave of funding – procurement spending alone is forecast to climb 27 per cent over the four years to 2014 – contrasts sharply with previous governments’ unwillingness to commit significant sums to the armed forces: arguably a response to the years of military dictatorship that ended in 1985 (Janes).

But, in addition to earlier news about the reopening of Brazil’s fighter jet competition, President Dilma Rousseff will reevaluate a 10 billion real ($6 billion) plan to purchase 11 warships as she seeks to streamline government expenses, local newspaper Folha de S.Paulo said (Reuters).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

Business & Economy

In Brazil on January 28, 2011 at 10:05 am

ECONOMY

Brazil’s economy will likely slow this year compared with 2010′s robust growth, but doubts remain whether the new administration’s fiscal and monetary policies will slow it growth enough to keep inflation under control, said a panel of emerging-markets strategists (Nasdaq).

Where does a senior manager cost most? Brazil, according to the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), a trade body (The Economist).

Brazil remains an attractive market for foreign investment, especially for companies seeking to expand their customer base in the country and the surrounding region, according to a survey from KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm (PR Newswire).

Over the past two years, sales of commodities to India increased nearly fivefold, from US$ 370 million in 2008 to US$ 1.74 billion in 2010. The main targets of the indians were the oil and sugar, but the outlook is positive for other products like chicken beef (India-Brazil Chamber).

Brazil’s booming economy registered record low unemployment in 2010 as a strengthening economy created jobs. The rate fell to a record low in 2010, as the country’s economy records the fastest growth since 1985 (Mercopress).

Over 100 top executives and business leaders gathered together in New York City yesterday morning to attend a special breakfast seminar entitled “Brazil: Economic and Political Outlook for 2011” (Brazilian-American Chamber).

Brazil’s current account deficit nearly doubled in 2010 as a buoyant economy and a rising currency boosted imports and strengthened Brazilian purchasing power abroad. Latin America’s largest economy ran a record current account deficit of $47.52 billion in 2010, up from $24.30 billion in 2009 (Reuters).

AGRI

With rapidly growing consumption, top coffee producer Brazil could overtake the United States as the world’s biggest drinker of the beverage in 2012, Brazil’s coffee industry said (Reuters).

JBS SA gave up efforts to raise financing for a Sara Lee Corp. takeover bid, making a spinoff of Sara Lee’s coffee business more likely (Bloomberg).

AVIATION

Brazil’s largest airline, TAM Linhas Aereas, said it expects growth in demand for domestic flights to slow to 15 percent to 18 percent in 2011, but to remain supported by robust tourist and business travel (Reuters).

BANKING & FINANCE

The BNDES’ disbursements reached R$ 168.4 billion in 2010, a 23% increase when compared to the previous year. The result takes into consideration Petrobras’ R$ 24.7 billion capitalization operation. When this operation – a one-off and non-recurring – is not considered, the Bank’s disbursements ended last year at R$ 143.7 billion, a 5% increase when compared to 2009, growth which is compatible with previously made projections (BNDES).

Banco PanAmericano, the Brazilian bank that received an emergency capital injection late last year, will need additional funds to shore up its balance sheet after auditors found more losses, O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper said (Reuters).

Eike Batista is undaunted after his companies lost $7.6 billion of market value in four months and had the biggest flop in Brazil’s initial public offering market since 2008, the billionaire’s investment chief says (Bloomberg).

Banco Bradesco and Citibank have shown interest in buying Banco PanAmericano (Reuters).

Banco do Brasil SA expects its credit- and debit-card business to have a 15 percent share of the market in Brazil within 5 years, President Aldemir Bendine said (Bloomberg).

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INVESTMENT

AkzoNobel has signaled its strategic intent to accelerate growth by investing close to €90 million in a new facility being built in Brazil. The plant, operated by the company’s Pulp and Paper Chemicals business, Eka Chemicals, will supply the world’s largest pulp mill (Reuters).

Nissan Motor Co plans to expand its production line in Brazil or build an entire new factory to meet rising demand for compact cars in the country, O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper reported (Reuters).

BG Group Plc will invest $10 billion in Brazil in ten years to boost output and buy platforms in a partnership with state-run Petrobras (Bloomberg).

MINING & STEEL

Brazil’s recently sworn in government, is concerned about increasing foreign interests in its mining assets and is looking in to the possibility of restricting foreign purchases of mines  (Mercopress).

CSN, Brazil’s largest diversified steelmaking group, boosted its stake in rival Usiminas and said that further purchases could take place, fanning speculation about a possible tie-up between the companies (Reuters).

Heavy rains over recent weeks have interrupted miner Vale’s shipments of 600,000 tonnes of iron ore from Brazil and 500,000 tonnes of coal from Australia (Reuters).

Eike Batista, through his AUX Canada Acquisition Inc, is offering C$12.63 a share for the 80 percent of Ventana (a Canadian goldminer) stock he does not already hold (Reuters).

OIL

Petrobras has taken a step up to third place in the PFC Energy 50, ranking and listing the biggest energy companies in the world based on capital value. Petrobras ended December 2010 at US$ 228.9 billion, relegating Shell and Chevron to fourth and fifth places (BW).

Norwegian oilfield services group Subsea 7 said it had won two contracts from Petrobras for activities offshore Brazil (Reuters).

Petrobras said it found light crude in an deep-water well in the Santos basin, underscoring the potential for new reserves in the so-called subsalt region beneath the ocean floor (Reuters).

Anadarko Petroleum Corp., a U.S. oil producer that has seven exploration blocks in Brazil, found signs of crude in an offshore well below a layer of salt in the the Atlantic Ocean (Bloomberg).

REAL ESTATE

Brazil overtakes China and has the most promising housing market between emerging markets (India-Brazil Chamber).

TELECOMS

Portugal Telecom signed the necessary contracts to seal the purchase of a 22.38 percent minimum direct and indirect stake in Brazil’s main fixed-line phone carrier Oi for 8.32 billion reais ($4.98 billion) (Reuters).

Regional & Travel

In Brazil on January 28, 2011 at 10:03 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of one of the future buildings of BH Tec, the Parque Tecnologico of Belo Horizonte (source: Skyscrapercity)

TRAVEL

Affordable travel are words on everyone’s lips at the moment and while getting to parts of Brazil can be costly, particularly for visitors outside of South America, there are ways to visit desired destinations quite cheaply – without compromising on quality (The Rio Times).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

Most of Brazil’s development has traditionally been concentrated in a number of state capitals, like Sao Paulo, Rio, Belo Horizonte and many others. These cities have – not unlogically – today become Brazil’s economic and political centres. However a number of other cities or conurbations have been developing over the last decades, in the shadow of the state capitals. Some of these cities might become as important as their state capitals. Let’s explore!

AMAZON

Brazil’s environment agency, Ibama, has given the go-ahead for initial work to begin on a huge hydroelectric dam on a tributary of the Amazon River. Ibama approved the clearing of forest at the planned site for the Belo Monte hydroelectric plant (BBC).

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RIO GRANDE DO SUL

President Dilma Rousseff inaugurated a thermoelectric power plant which was built with China’s help and can provide energy for a million people. Candiota III is located in Candiota city, in southern Rio Grande do Sul state. It was built in partnership with China’s Citic Group and China Development Bank and is valued at about 780 million dollars. It has an installed capacity of 350 megawatts (Xinhua).

RIO

Shots fired at Mayor Paes’ office.

Police have been fighting with drug gangs in slums near the center of Rio de Janeiro, with shots shattering windows in the Mayor’s office (Washington Post).

In November 2010, thousands of members of the Rio police force and the Brazilian army were mobilized for a massive operation in the Complexo do Alemão and Vila Cruzeiro in the Zona Norte (North zone). Now, amongst recent allegations of misconduct, pressure is on to bring the UPP (Police Pacification Units) into the area quickly (The Rio Times).

The Parque Nacional Floresta de Tijuca is the forest covering the mountains that dominate Rio, with the city centre, the Zona Sul of Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches, and Barra de Tijuca all sitting between the slopes of those mountains and the waters of the Atlantic or Guanabara Bay (Gringoes).

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

Politics & Government

In Brazil on January 21, 2011 at 10:38 am

INTERNATIONAL

The label “Made in China” is stirring an ever-greater backlash in Brazil as cheap imports ravage local manufacturers, putting pressure on new President Dilma Rousseff to fight back (Reuters).

President Dilma Rousseff, in one of her first international policy moves, pushed regional solidarity to the forefront when the HMS Clyde, of the Falklands Patrol Force of the UK Royal Navy, was denied port in Rio de Janeiro last week (The Rio Times).

Brazilian and Uruguayan Foreign Ministers Antonio Patriota and Luis Almagro have agreed to hold bilateral meetings every three months. They also announced the launch of a tender in three months’ time for a bridge over the Yaguaron River linking the Brazilian town Santana do Livramento with Rivera in Uruguay (Mercopress).

Brazil would protest to Iran if the country implements a proposed ban on the works of author Paulo Coelho, President Dilma Rousseff’s foreign affairs adviser Marco Aurelio Garcia said (Bloomberg).

Israel’s decision to not renew the settlement moratorium last September is “not only illegal” but it also “undermines the peace process” in the Middle East, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, the permanent representative of Brazil to the UN, said (Xinhua).

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DEFENSE

Bad news for Dassault’s Rafale jet. President Dilma Rousseff has decided to delay awarding a multi-billion dollar Air Force jet contract and reevaluate the finalists’ bids, in a move that could signal a realignment of Brazil’s strategic and defense alliances (Reuters).

Embraer and the Brazilian Air Force – FAB (Comando da Aeronáutica – COMAER) have signed a contract to overhaul 43 AMX jet fighters. This deal complements the previous contract to modernize AMX fighters signed in 2003 (Embraer).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

FLOODS

Rodrigo Neves, Rio state secretary of social assistance and human rights, declared that 5,000 families must move to safer ground at once. And Rio’s serra is the least of Brazil’s disaster problem. All told, 5m Brazilians live in danger zones, at the mercy of rogue weather, according to Aloizio Mercadante, the science minister (The Economist).

The Growth Acceleration Program (PAC) in Brazil is to put US$ 6.7 billion into the construction of slope containment and floodwater drainage projects, the Minister of Planning, Budget and Management, Miriam Belchior, announced following the first meeting of the Infrastructure Forum, opened by President Dilma Rousseff, at the Palacio do Planalto, in Brasilia (Portal Brasil).

Brazil is planning a national system to warn against natural disasters and prevent damages, in the wake of floods and landslides that ravaged the country recently (Xinhua).

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

Business & Economy

In Brazil on January 21, 2011 at 10:38 am

ECONOMY

Brazil’s central bank has raised its key interest rate to 11.25% in a bid to cool inflation in one of the world’s fastest growing economies (BBC).

President Dilma Rousseff will probably announce a freeze in government expenses before Feb. 28, as she seeks to fulfill pledges of fiscal discipline, a cabinet minister told Reuters.

Brazil’s tax collection rose sharply in December from a year earlier on the back of strong economic activity, the federal tax authority said. Tax revenues in December, adjusted for inflation, jumped to 90.9 billion reais ($54.4 billion), a 16 percent increase from December 2009 and a 36 percent rise from November 2010 (Reuters).

AGRI

A growing consumer class in Brazil is spurring strong growth for multinational food companies. Read more on Brazil’s food business boom at the Latin Business Chronicle.

Brazil imported from the United States 427,000 tons (mt) of wheat, valued at $98 million between January and October 2010, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (The Cropsite).

China’s state-controlled Chongqing Grain Group plans to invest $879 million to produce soybean oil in Brazil (Bloomberg).

AUTOMOTIVE

Mitsubishi Motors plans to spend an estimated 20-30 billion yen ($241.5 million) to obtain a stake of at least 50 percent in MMC Automotores do Brasil SA, a firm that currently handles its production in Brazil. The Brazilian firm’s plants will be expanded in fiscal 2011, with annual production capacity of four-wheel-drive vehicles and other cars to be doubled to at least 100,000 units (Reuters).

AVIATION

Embraer delivered 246 jets in 2010. The firm order backlog, at the end of the year, came to US$ 15.6 billion, which is 2% higher than the amount recorded on September 30, 2010 (BW). Read Embraer’s 20-year market forecast for commercial jets here (pdf).

Chile’s flagship airline LAN expects to complete a merger with Brazil’s TAM within six to nine months, after inking a deal with final terms and conditions (Reuters).

Steven Udvar-Hazy’s Air Lease Corp. completed its first regional-aircraft leasing accord in Brazil. Trip Linhas Aereas SA, Brazil’s largest regional carrier, will operate five Embraer E-190 jets and five ATR-72-600 turboprops (Bloomberg).

Trip Linhas Aereas SA has enough credit to remain private until 2012 and won’t have an initial public offering this year, Director Decio Chieppe said in Campinas (Bloomberg).

BANKING

Banco do Brasil, Latin America’s largest bank by assets, cut its forecast for consumer lending growth this year after central bank measures restrained credit more than previously thought, Chief Executive Officer Aldemir Bendine said. A U.S. takeover is to be unveiled “very soon,” the Banco do Brasil CEO added (Reuters).

BIOFUELS

Brazil’s cane sector is plowing capital investments into sugar production, ending the trend of favoring ethanol capacity expansion, Paulo Roberto da Souza, chief executive of the country’s biggest sugar and ethanol trader Copersucar, said (Reuters). Copersucar is also considering an initial public stock offering to raise cash for investments in logistics and marketing, Chief Executive Officer Paulo Roberto da Souza said.

Petrobras is seeking a long-term contract to buy ethanol from a Sao Martinho SA partnership, said the biofuel unit’s chief executive officer (Bloomberg).

MINING

Mining giant Vale SA said it expects total iron ore production to rise 50 percent by 2015.  Vale Minerals China Co President Luiz Meriz said Vale was making large investments to increase iron ore production to satisfy growing Chinese demand (BW).

Vale International is expected to start building a 9 billion-14 billion ringgit ($2.95 billion-$4.57 billion) iron-ore complex in Malaysia by July or August (Reuters).

OIL

Brazilian oil deposits below a layer of salt in the Atlantic Ocean hold at least 123 billion barrels of reserves, more than double government estimates, according to a university study by a former Petroleo Brasileiro SA geologist (Businessweek).

Petroleo Brasileiro SA’s record $6 billion international debt offering is sparking the biggest slide in the state-run Brazilian oil company’s bonds in 10 weeks as it creates a supply glut (Bloomberg).

Paulo Gouvea, a senior executive for Brazilian oil and mining holding company EBX for about 13 years, quit to pursue other professional interests, the company said (Reuters).

POWER

Iberdrola, the Spanish energy giant, said that it had agreed to buy Elektro Eletricidade e Servicos of Brazil for $2.4 billion. Iberdrola, which already owns 39 percent of the Brazilian company Neoenergia, will be one of the largest energy providers in the country. The company said Brazil was “key to its international growth strategy” (New York Times).

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PORTS

Brazilian shipbuilders will spend 12 billion reais ($7.1 billion) to build 17 new shipyards as oil companies includingPetrobras boost orders for offshore production platforms and ships, O Globo reported, citing the Abnav and Sinaval national shipbuilders’ associations (Bloomberg).

STOCK EXCHANGE

ICO2 was the best-performing total index in the Stock Exchange between September and December 2010. BNDES has selected BlackRock Brasil as the manager of a new index fund comprising stocks belonging to companies which make up the Efficient Carbon Index (ICO2) (BNDES).

Stock sales in Brazil are rebounding after three years in the dumps, with three companies alone filing to raise nearly 4.11 billion reais ($2.5 billion) to fund takeovers and expansion (Reuters).

TELECOMS

Anatel, Brazils telecom regulator, released wireless figures for December. About 29 million lines were added in 2010, a 24 percent jump from 2009. Brazils overall mobile phone market now has 17 percent more lines, at 202.9 million, meaning that the penetration rate already surpassed 100 percent (Reuters).

Portugal Telecom  signed a contract to seal its purchase of a stake in Brazilian phone carrier Oi (Reuters).

Telebras will have to rely on funds from Brazil’s Treasury for the next three years for investments in its national broadband Internet plan, Chief Executive Officer Rogerio Santanna said (Bloomberg).

Culture & Regional

In Brazil on January 21, 2011 at 10:37 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of the Museum of Tomorrow for Rio de Janeiro’s docklands project. Designed by Santiago Calatrava for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development or ‘RIO+20′ in 2012.

CULTURE

The work of Dutch graphic artist MC Escher, considered to be the master of optical illusion, will be on display at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB), Bank of Brazil Cultural Center, from January 18th to March 27th (The Rio Times).

FILM

Brazil’s film policy, not only thematically but also – and chiefly – in its form, is to be the focus of discussions at the 14th Tiradentes Film Festival, which from January 21 to 29 opens Brazil’s season, in the historical city of Tiradentes, in Minas Gerais state (Portal Brasil).

“Lula, the Son of Brazil” recounts the travails of Brazil’s popular former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, from his birth in abject poverty to his entry into politics in the 1970s. The film undoubtedly holds more fascination for Brazilian than American audiences, though the region’s political turmoil enhances its appeal (Reuters).

TWITTER & LINKEDIN

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SPLIT SECOND POLL

Most of Brazil’s development has traditionally been concentrated in a number of state capitals, like Sao Paulo, Rio, Belo Horizonte and many others. These cities have – not unlogically – today become Brazil’s economic and political centres. However a number of other cities or conurbations have been developing over the last decades, in the shadow of the state capitals. Some of these cities might become as important as their state capitals. Let’s explore!

RIO

The rental market in the favela community of Rocinha is about to expand after the 144-unit apartment complex built by the government’s PAC, Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento (Program of Growth Acceleration) was inaugurated on December 21, 2010 (The Rio Times).

You could visit the most paradisiacal beaches in Rio by escaping the traditional tour. Read how and where.

EBX Group is also working to transform the Marina da Glória into a place for the patrons of Rio to enjoy events, conventions and leisure activities. With plans currently under evaluation by the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute, Marina da Gloria will also provide a suitable arena to host the nautical competitions of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The first 3D movie theater was inaugurated in the Nova Brasilia favela. With 96 seats and advanced equipment, the project “Nova Brasilia Citizen’s New Cinema” is aimed at extending to the poor a form of entertainment that, in the past decades, became a privilege of the higher classes (Xinhua).

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

Politics & Government

In Brazil on January 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

INTERNATIONAL

Brazilian best-selling author Paulo Coelho said that Iran has banned sales of his books, the author said in his blog (Businessweek).

Brazil invested 2.9 billion reals (US$ 1.7 billion) in cooperation projects with other  countries from 2005 until 2009. According to a survey conducted by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea), in partnership with the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), linked to the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, most of the investment (79%) was geared towards actions by international organizations and regional banks (Brazilian-Amercian Chamber).

Brazil’s Odebrecht SA, Latin America’s largest engineering and construction company by sales, signed a $145 million contract to build a road through Peru’s northern Andes (Bloomberg).

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will not attend the upcoming annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, due to a conflict of schedules (Xinhua).

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

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DEFENSE

Elbit Systems has followed its acquisition of Brazilian defence electronics firm Ares with a USD260 million contract to supply unmanned turrets to the Brazilian Army. Elbit Systems’ Brazilian subsidiary, Aeroeletrônica Industria de Componentes Avionicos (AEL), will install UT30 BR 30 mm Unmanned Turrets to “a few hundred” of the Brazilian Army’s Iveco 6×6 Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) as part of the Guarani Project (Janes).

The Brazilian government and Navy are considering an ambitious plan for launching an offshore subsea lab to be located at the limit of the country´s territorial waters and beyond the farthest pre-salt play (MercoPress).

Brazil is planning to spend $6 billion (10 billion reais) on a new project to protect its borders against smuggling and arms trafficking. The money raised would be spent on radars, armored vehicles and unmanned aircraft which would mainly patrol remote border areas deep in the Amazon jungle (Reuters).

PORTS

Private-equity firm Advent International Corp. agreed to buy 50 percent of Terminal de Conteineres de Paranagua SA, Brazil’s third-largest container port terminal (Bloomberg).

POWER

Brazil’s new minister of mines and energy, Edison Lobao, has stated that the government plans to give approval by the end of 2011 for the construction of four new nuclear power plants in the country (World Nuclear News).

The Sao Paulo state government could sell its stake in energy generator Cesp to federally-owned Furnas to raise funds for investments, Folha de S. Paulo newspaper said (Reuters).

Brazil’s government expects no delays in environment licenses for the massive Belo Monte hydroelectric energy dam in the Amazon, Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao said (Reuters).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

Business & Economy

In Brazil on January 14, 2011 at 10:24 am

ECONOMY

Brazil offers $1 billion in reverse currency swaps as it buys dollars in the futures market for the first time in 21 months to protect the real from the global currency war (Bloomberg).

President Dilma Rousseff has agreed to raise the minimum wage to 543 reais ($326) per month from the 540 reais that took effect Jan. 1 to compensate for faster inflation last year (Bloomberg).

Spearheaded by record investment in the petroleum and natural gas industry, Brazil’s job market continues to grow at a breakneck pace. Billion dollar investments by the government and private companies have created a positive landscape for job seekers, with no sign of abating (The Rio Times).

Brazil’s economy created 2.55 milllion formal jobs in 2010 (Bloomberg).

AGRI-PECU

A leveraged buyout of Sara Lee Corp could pave the way for Brazilian beef processor JBS SA to buy the U.S. company’s meat division, analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said (Reuters).

Mitsui & Co. plans to buy 44.2 percent of Brazilian grain broker Multigrain SA from CHS Inc. of the U.S. for 40 billion yen ($482 million) (Bloomberg).

AVIATION

Air travel demand in Brazil increased a record 23.5 percent last year with more passengers booking flights as employment and wages continued to rise in a thriving economy (Reuters).

Brazil’s airport authority needs about two years to prepare for an initial share offering that could improve air travel ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics (Bloomberg).

TAP Portugal will launch in June 2011 non-stop flights to Porto Alegre, capital of Rio Grande do Sul, the state with the fourth largest GDP in Brazil and a population exceeding 10 million inhabitants.

Embraer confirmed the sale of ten EMBRAER 190s to CDB Leasing Co., Ltd. (CLC), of China. The jets will be operated by China Southern, the country’s largest airline, and the third in the world. The aircraft will be used to develop new markets, and the first delivery is expected for the second half of 2011 (Embraer).

Brazil’s civil aviation regulator could reduce the number of flights operated by airline TAM after a string of canceled and delayed flights (Reuters).

Singapore Airlines will launch flights to Sao Paulo, Brazil, starting from March 28 (Xinhua).

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BANKING & FINANCE

Brazil’s first Islamic bond may be a private sale by a company in 2012, Daud Vicary Abdullah, global Islamic finance leader at Deloitte Corporate Advisory Services Sdn. said in Doha (Bloomberg).

A Grupo Odebrecht shareholder is suing over the value of stock that the company plans to buy. The Gradin family, one of the biggest minority investors in the group, filed the suit last month in Brazil’s Bahia state against the controlling Odebrecht family (Bloomberg).

Banco do Brasil SA agreed to buy a small bank based in Florida, Veja magazine said in its Radar column, without naming the lender or saying how it got the information (Bloomberg).

Brazil’s securities regulator proposed stepping up disclosure requirements for the 59 billion reais ($35 billion) asset-backed fund industry in the wake of an accounting probe into Banco Panamericano SA (Bloomberg).

IT

Aptech Brazil Computer Education, a company based in Belo Horizonte (MG), which offers training in IT in a global scale,  wants to open next year, eight new franchises: two in Belo Horizonte (BH), four in São Paulo and two in Rio de Janeiro city (India-Brazil Chamber).

MINING & STEEL

ThyssenKrupp expects Brazil to grant approval for Germany’s biggest steelmaker to operate its new plant in the Latin American country at full capacity (Reuters).

Cia. Siderurgica Nacional SA, Brazil’s third largest steelmaker, said it owns 5 percent of rival Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA, the country’s second biggest steelmaker (Bloomberg).

ArcelorMittal may invest $200 million to produce steel for Brazil’s auto industry (Bloomberg).

OIL

Petrobras has decided to create a holding company as part of its plans to tap massive crude reserves deep beneath the ocean floor (Reuters).

Petrobras  said that its 2010 sales of gasoline and jet fuel jumped from the previous year and will remaan strong in coming months as the country’s economic expansion spurs demand for oil products (Reuters).

OGX, owned by billionaire industrial magnate Eike Batista, said that reserves found in a well in the offshore Santos Basin were not commercially viable (Reuters).

Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. oil company, plans to expand its $3 billion Frade project off Brazil’s coast as it bets on finding more crude by drilling deeper wells (Bloomberg).

Petrobras said it has sound finances and the possible acquisition of a stake in Portugal’s largest oil company, Galp EnergiaSA, presents no risk to its debt (Bloomberg).

Chinese companies Cnooc, PetroChina and Sinopec are interested in the Brazilian oil assets of Galp Energia SA, Diario Economico reported (Bloomberg).

RETAIL

Itau Unibanco, Brazil’s biggest non-government bank, agreed to pay 260 million reais ($154 million) to the home appliances unit of Grupo Pao de Acucar for signing up new clients of extended warranty insurance (Reuters).

Arezzo Industria e Comercio SA, Brazil’s largest women’s shoe retailer, said its planned initial public offering could fetch up to 565.8 million reais ($337.2 million) as it looks to fund expansion of new stores and finance takeovers (Reuters).

Brazil’s largest discount retailer Lojas Americanas plans to buy out the shares it doesn’t already own in Internet subsidiary B2W in a deal likely to be worth 1.7 billion reais ($1 billion), the newspaper Valor Economico reported (Reuters).

Culture & Regional

In Brazil on January 14, 2011 at 10:23 am

BUILDING OF THE WEEK

Render of the Boulevard Mall and Tower inaugurated at the end of last year in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais.

TRAVEL

As anyone familiar with overland travel in Brazil can attest, bus stations can be pretty rough going. With this in mind, expats and Brazil enthusiasts Jonathan Flynn and Jane Bell started Cruz the Coast, a transport service between Rio and Salvador that provides backpackers and independent travelers with a safe, convenient and fun alternative to the standard stresses of getting from A to B (The Rio Times).

The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) and the City Hall of Rio de Janeiro city signed a financing agreement worth R$ 1.2 billion to implement the Transcarioca Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, which will connect Barra da Tijuca in the West Zone to the International Airport (Aeroporto Internacional do Galeão), in the North Zone (BNDES).

Whilst Brazil’s famed cities of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador have been the most popular ports of call for foreign tourists, a shift is beginning to occur. Within tougher economic times, independent travelers want more for their money, so it is no surprise that one of the key travel trends for 2011 is ‘off the beaten track’ (The Rio Times).

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RIO

Rescue workers struggled to reach areas cut off by devastating floods and landslides that have killed at least 500 people in one of Brazil’s worst natural disasters in decades (MercoPress).

President Rousseff and Rio Governador Cabral (Picture source).

President Dilma Rousseff and recent two-term president Lula, both affiliated with the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT, Workers’ Party) have been maintaining an effective political alliance with the governor of Rio state Sérgio Cabral and the mayor of the city, Eduardo Paes, both of Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro (PMDB, Brazilian Democratic Movement Party) (The Rio Times).

The hotel chain of the state of Rio receives investments from the business segment and it is beginning to expand to the Baixada Fluminense area and other cities of the “oil route” (India-Brazil Chamber).

Brazil Hospitality Group signed a contract for the acquisition of 100% of the shares of Brascan Imobiliaria Hotelaria e Turismo S.A., which is the sole owner of the building located at Avenida Prefeito Mendes de Morais 222, Sao Conrado, Rio de Janeiro, currently known as “Hotel Intercontinental.” With this purchase, BHG S.A. adds a major hotel to its portfolio, just 15 days after the company’s entry into the northern region of Brazil with the simultaneous acquisition of two hotels in the city of Belem (BW).

The City of Rio de Janeiro and State University of Rio de Janeiro created the project Geographical Tours of Rio that promotes free walking in the Downtown area during the day and evening, and in other places such as the neighborhoods Glória, Catete, Flamengo and Copacabana. The project aims to know the geography, history, architecture, religion, arts and culture, apart from the life of the city revealing its intricacies, genesis, expansion, symbology and metamorphoses (Rio Official Guide).

After more than 25 years, Help Discotheque, a notorious symbol of prostitution in Rio, closed its doors after the Prefeitura (local government) initiated the process in 2008. The prime location along Copacabana Beach will transform into a new landmark, the Museum of Image and Sound (MIS, picture), and planned to be completed in the end of 2012 (The Rio Times).

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Politics & Government

In Brazil on January 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm

POLITICS

Dilma Rousseff takes over a booming economy—and rising inflation and interest rates, lack of investment in infrastructure and a fiscally incontinent legislature (The Economist).

Dilma’s full cabinet can be found here.

Brazil has a great opportunity to become a developed nation, said president Dilma Rousseff during her inauguration as the first woman to govern the country. In a joint session of the National Congress, she promised to fight against poverty, to promote economic growth and to control inflation (Senado Federal, also source of picture).

President Dilma Rousseff’s new government moved immediately to tackle the biggest threats to Brazil’s booming economy, vowing new budget cuts, measures to deal with an overvalued currency, and even a tougher line in trade talks with China (Reuters).

Dilma Rousseff is set to rewrite Brazilian history. Following her election in October 2010, she replaced Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on January 1, 2011, to become the first female president of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Her past as a resistance fighter in the 1960s against Brazil’s military dictatorship has generated even more interest in her. The Globalist explores her vision for Brazil.

Once discounted as a technocrat and a political puppet of her creator and predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Dilma Rousseff had never occupied elective office before her inauguration as President of Brazil on January 1st. Being the first woman to reach the presidency in Latin America’s biggest nation, however, will likely add to her burden of succeeding the most popular Brazilian leader in history (Brazil Institute).

Read also Oliver Stuenkel’s view at Post Western World: On New Years Day, Brazilian Worker’s Party President-elect Dilma Rousseff takes over from her mentor, outgoing President Luis Inácio “Lula” da Silva. She has big shoes to fill as she tries to emulate her predecessor.

Brazil’s new government has signalled its intention to press ahead with a controversial ‘truth commission’ to investigate abuses by the country’s former military dictatorship (Telegraph).

During Lula’s time in office, the number of Brazilians living in poverty has fallen from 49 million to just under 29 million. And although Brazil still has one of the world’s greatest income disparities, the country is on the verge of reaching its lowest income inequality level on record (Huffington Post).

Outgoing President Lula da Silva said he might run for president again some day, Folha de S. Paulo newspaper reported, a revelation that could weaken his chosen successor (MercoPress).

Former Brazilian beauty queen Marcela Temer has caused a media sensation with her appearance at the inauguration of President Dilma Rousseff (BBC).

With the recent 62% increase Brazilian lawmakers (Lower House and Senate) will be among the best paid in the world, ahead of European and US peers and from other emerging economies (MercoPress).

President Dilma Rousseff’s main coalition partner appeared to back away from a spat with the ruling party, but said it wanted more say in the new government’s decision-making (Reuters).

Lula passed the presidency to Dilma Rousseff having done much during his two terms. In the process, he relied on four simple pillars that other leaders would be well advised to consider (Bloomberg).

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INTERNATIONAL

On the same day that work began on a new Palestinian embassy in Brasilia, President Lula da Silva said that peace in the Middle East was impossible with the United States as a mediator (MercoPress).

China, along with Argentina, Uruguay and the United States, will be one of the first foreign trip destinations of President Dilma Rousseff (Xinhua).

Brazil’s Supreme Court chief judge, minister Cezar Peluso, ruled today that Cesare Battisti, an Italian former communist militant convicted for murder in absentia, will remain in jail in Brazil (Bloomberg).

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DEFENSE

The Federal Senate’s Plenary approved the bill that approves the text for the agreement signed between Brazil and France for cooperation in defense. With 24 articles, the text increases even more the cooperation between the two countries in this sector, mainly in the areas of research, development, logistic support, purchase of defense products, equipment and services, as well as joint actions in military training and instruction (Senado Federal).

France is confident of scooping a major contract to sell Rafale fighter planes to Brazil under its new president Dilma Rousseff, the French defense minister said Jan. 4 (DefenseNews).

The Helicópteros do Brasil (Helibras) subsidiary of Eurocopter signed a contract for a major upgrade program on the Brazilian Army’s fleet of 36 AS350 Ecureuils. This modernization includes the rebuilding of three of these aircraft (Eurocopter).

OTHER

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Justice Minister Luiz Paulo Barreto last month joined their countrymen to apply for a new chip-based identity card. It is a magnetic card with digital printing and an electronic chip that stores information about the card-holder’s name, gender, date of birth, photograph, affiliation, place of birth, signature, fingerprint, place and date of issuance and expiration (Xinhua).

Comestics maker Natura said it is appealing a fine of close to 21 million reais ($12.4 million) levied by the nation’s environmental oversight agency Ibama for allegedly making improper use of genetic material native to Brazil (Reuters).

Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo said he favors a public debate over the decriminalization of drugs (Bloomberg).

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