News from Brazil

Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on April 15, 2011 at 10:12 am

POLITICS

Senator Aécio Neves (PSDB-MG) drew up what he believes it is the opposition’s role in Dilma Rousseff’s government at the Senate’s Plenary. In his speech – heard by a crowded Plenary and applauded by almost all senators in the end– Aécio also highlighted achievements by former governments and emphasized the importance of politics for the understanding of the Brazilian diverse lines of thoughts (Senado Federal).

Brazilian lawmakers say they will propose a national vote on whether to ban the sale of guns, after a deadly shooting at a school last week (BBC).

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INTERNATIONAL

China and Brazil clinched a host of government agreements and economic deals in Beijing to enhance their strategic partnership as Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff paid her first state visit to China (MercoPress).

China opened its market to Brazilian pork and Brazil’s meat packer Marfrig said it would invest heavily in distribution centres in China (MercoPress).

China plans to invest ten billion US dollars in the production, storage and transport of soybeans in Brazil to ensure the supply of the commodity of which it is the world’s main importer (MercoPress).

China’s hunger for raw materials and commodities is boosting Brazilian exports, while cheaper consumer goods coming from Asia is opening new horizons for Brazil’s growing middle class. China became Brazil’s largest trading partner in 2009, overtaking the United States which had held the position since the 1930s (BBC).

The president of the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), Luciano Coutinho, signed a Financial Cooperation Agreement with the presidents of the development banks in China, India, Russia and South Africa. Together with Brazil, these countries constitute the so-called BRICS (BNDES).

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DEFENSE

The Senate’s Plenary approved an agreement between Brazil and France, signed in December 2008, for cooperation in the production of submarines. The approved agreement establishes bilateral cooperation to develop and build conventional submarines of the type Scorpène (SBR), as well as of a submarine with a conventional weapon to receive a nuclear reactor to be developed by the Brazilian part (SNBR) (Senado Federal).

Elbit Systems’ Brazilian subsidiary, AEL Sistemas S.A, announced a follow-on sub-contract from Embraer Defense and Security to upgrade another 11 F-5 fighters under the F-5BR program. This order would take the FAB’s upgraded F-5EM fleet to 57 aircraft, including 11 (8 F-5Es, 3 F-5Fs) bought from the Jordanian Air Force (Defense Industry Daily).

BAE Systems and European armored vehicle rival Krauss-Maffei Wegmann are vying to upgrade the Brazilian Army’s M113 armored vehicle fleet (Defense News).

Embraer Defense and Security and the Argentine company FAdeA signed a partnership contract for the KC-390 program. The announcement was made during a press conference held at LAAD Defense and Security 2011, taking place in Rio de Janeiro. The agreement states that FAdeA will manufacture the spoilers (plates on the top surface of a wing for controlling wing lift), doors for the nose landing gear, ramp door, flap fairings, tail cone, and electronic cabinet (Embraer).

Organizacao Odebrecht, Brazil’s largest diversified construction group, plans to create a defense and security unit as the government seeks to beef up the nation’s defense capabilities, Valor Economico newspaper reported (Reuters).

Brazil suspended plans to buy at least four MI-35 helicopters from Russia, O Estado de S. Paulo reported (Bloomberg).

Brazil Business & Economy News

In Brazil on April 15, 2011 at 10:11 am

ECONOMY

Edna Santos, agency area UN chief, says that the country should seize the opportunity of international events like Rio 2012 and World Cup to show its creative potential. The creative economy concept includes all of the production based on intellectual capital linked to arts and creativity in general, like music, movies, folklore and IT (India-Brazil Chamber).

Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, along with other investors, will team with Intercontinential Exchange (ICE) to form a local energy trading market, business daily Valor Economico reported (Nasdaq).

AGRI-PECU

By acquiring American giants such as Swift and Pilgrim’s Pride, JBS grew from a $1 billion private company into a $40 billion behemoth that slaughters 90,000 head of cattle a day, employs 125,000 workers and exports to 150 countries. JBS is now the world’s biggest provider of meat, its footprint felt by feedlots, packing plants and chicken processors from Argentina to Italy to the American Midwest (Washington Post).

FROM THE EDITOR

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE BRAZIL WEEKLY TEAM WILL BE ON VACATION. THE NEXT EDITION WILL THE MAY13TH EDITION

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AVIATION

Chinese airlines have placed orders worth $1.4bn (£861m) with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer. The deal includes firm orders for 20 planes and an option to buy 15 additional aircraft (BBC).

The rear section of an Air France jet that crashed off Brazil’s coast in 2009 remains relatively intact on the ocean floor, raising hopes the plane’s “black boxes” may still be attached to the wreckage (Washington Post).

AUTOMOTIVE

The race around the world to develop an alternative fuel to petroleum is making great strides in Brazil. Already a market leader in the ethanol industry: technology development, production and consumption, Brazil is also leading natural gas developments, making their claim to be a front-runner in alternative powering of vehicles a strong one (The Rio Times).

BANKING

Itau Unibanco, Brazil’s largest non-government bank, agreed to pay 725 million reais ($457 million) for a 49 percent stake in Carrefour’s Brazil consumer finance unit, expanding its presence in the nation’s fastest-growing lending segment (Reuters).

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp and Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual plan to enter a partnership covering project finance, mergers and acquisitions and asset management (Reuters).

Brazil’s Banco BMG is in talks to buy rivals Schahin and Morada, with both deals to be concluded in coming days, local media reported (Reuters).

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd , the world’s top lender by market value, will establish a presence in Brazil with initial start-up capital of $100 million as it looks to tap growing trade flows between the two countries (Reuters).

BIOFUELS

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the world’s biggest distributor of bio-fuels, is shifting research to waste from sugar-cane farming after ending an algae project in Hawaii. Shell, Iogen Corp. and Codexis have been researching enzymes to produce cellulose ethanol from wheat stalks and sugar-cane bagasse, a sugar industry waste product (MercoPress).

Brazil’s fuel regulator may require sugar-cane processors such as Cosan SA Industria e Comercio and Sao Martinho SA to store ethanol in an effort to prevent future rate shocks (Bloomberg).

INFRA

The Brazilian Senate has approved the construction of the country’s first high-speed bullet train line (Washington Post).

Investors are piling into Brazilian port operators at prices three times as expensive as the broader market, counting on cargo backlogs and record shipping volumes to bolster profit (Bloomberg).

INVESTMENT

Foxconn in planning to invest as much as $12bn (£7.4bn) in Brazil, according to the country’s president Dilma Rousseff. Taiwan-based Foxconn operates the majority of its factories in China, producing goods for firms like Apple, Hewlett Packard and Dell (BBC).

U.S. biotechnology company Amgen Inc is expanding in Brazil, announcing it had acquired privately-held Bergamo for about $215 million while reacquiring rights in the country to several Amgen products (Reuters).

MINING

Vale announces that it has entered into a contract for a five-year revolving credit line facility of US$ 3 billion supplied by a bank syndicate (Vale).

OIL

Plans to hold Brazil’s next oil and gas exploration auction round in August are expected to be approved on April 28, the director of the National Petroleum Agency told Reuters.

Petrobras ranked second in a list of the 20 most profitable companies in the U.S. and Latin America in 2010, consulting company Economatica said (Xinhua).

REAL ESTATE

The proximity of 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics should keep the real estate Brazilian market up. Price rises affected big cities throughout the country, but mainly Rio de Janeiro, that will host the Olympics. There property prices more than doubled in some neighborhoods, while rent prices rose up to 159% in 2010, according to data from Real Estate Association Secovi (India-Brazil Chamber).

Brazil Regional & Culture News

In Brazil on April 15, 2011 at 10:10 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

http://i904.photobucket.com/albums/ac242/atlantico/petrobras.jpg

Render of the new offices for Petrobras BR Distribuidora for the Cidade Nova area of Rio de Janeiro (Skyscrapercity).

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TOURISM

Brazil’s tourism agency plans to use the global release of the 3-D animation movie “Rio” to promote the country as a destination for foreign tourists (Washington Post).

SPORTS

With Brazil due to host the World Cup in a little over three years’ time and the Olympics in 2016, many fear a nightmare scenario of delayed infrastructural projects the nation is desperate to avoid. The signs thus far, however, are ominous (The Rio Times).

Most of Brazil’s airports being improved for the World Cup in 2014 will not be ready in time, a report warns. Of 13 terminals being upgraded, 10 are unlikely to be completed by June 2014, the government-backed Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea) said (BBC).

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COSTA VERDE

Most people traveling along the Costa Verde (Green Coast) between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo stop at the most well-known beautiful spots such as Paraty, Angra dos Reis and Ilha Grande. However, there are other, more hidden gems to be discovered, such as Itacuruçá, a small, unassuming town about one-and-a-half hours south of Rio by bus, in the municipality of Mangaratiba (The Rio Times).

RIO

Nestled between Flamengo, Lapa, Santa Teresa and the waterfront, Glória enjoys a superb location and views of the Guanabara Bay. Its 10,000 residents stroll through the main corridor, Rua da Glória, which connects with two important streets, Rua do Catete and Rua da Lapa, brimming with grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies and snack shops filled with ample customers and lively conversation (The Rio Times).

Police in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro have arrested a local lawmaker on suspicion of heading a paramilitary group linked to a series of murders. They say Luiz Ferreira da Silva runs an illegal armed group which controls 13 Rio neighbourhoods, a charge he denies (BBC).

Few could deny the increase in violent crime in Macaé over the last several decades. In recent months however, it has escalated and many attribute this to drug gangs from Rio migrating to Macaé, fleeing newly inaugurated UPPs in their respective territories (The Rio Times).

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Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on April 8, 2011 at 11:46 am

POLITICS

Brazil’s opposition needs generational and policy change if it is to stay relevant (The Economist).

Senators from the Special Committee on Political Reform approved the adoption of the Closed-List Proportional electoral system (Federal Senate).

Dilma Rousseff trusts a Truth Commission can be set up and working before the end of the year to investigate crimes and human rights abuses committed during the military dictatorship which extended from 1964 to 1985 (MercoPress).

Dilma Rousseff said her country is firmly cracking down on corruption, but a lot remains to be done. “It looks like corruption is increasing, but what really is increasing is the investigation and identification of criminals,” she said in her weekly column “Conversation with the President,” which is published by many newspapers in Brazil (Xinhua).

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INTERNATIONAL

MILA, the newly combined stockmarket of Chile, Peru and Colombia, is the most tangible sign of a growing closeness between three fast-growing, medium-sized South American countries with Pacific coastlines that now aspire to form a common market. It might form an alternative pole of attraction to Brazil (The Economist).

Brazil’s government emphatically refused to suspend work on a huge hydroelectric dam in the Amazon, despite pleas by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that the project could displace tens of thousands of indigenous people and cause environmental harm (New York Times).

More than 20 Islamic extremists connected to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups are using Brazil as a base to hide, raise money or plan attacks, according to leaked documents (Telegraph).

Islamic extremist groups such as Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas are illegally operating in the Triple Frontier area shared by Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, where they allegedly gather large amounts of money, recruit new militants and plan additional attacks, Brazilian magazine Veja denounced (MercoPress).

China is rapidly expanding its presence in Brazil, surpassing the United States as the South American giant’s biggest biggest investor and trade partner. Published ahead of a planned visit by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to China next month, a report said Chinese firms have announced investments of nearly $30 billion in Brazil, including $8.6 billion currently under negotiation (AFP).

Dilma Rousseff and her Chinese peer Hu Jintao will address the Libyan crisis and other issues related to the Chinese currency, Yuan, which has Brazilian manufacturers most concerned, anticipated the Brazilian Foreign Affairs ministry (MercoPress).

About 300 Brazilian businesspeople from various sectors will join the delegation that will be in China between April 11 and 15. One of the main aims of the mission is to increase and diversify exports from Brazil, which last year earned US$ 335.3 billion for the country. China is now the world’s second-largest economy and Brazil’s most important trade partner (Portal Brasil).

Brazil hopes to see the countries of BRICS, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, strengthen as their importance grows on the international stage, a Brazilian diplomat said. China will host the third BRICS Leaders’ Meeting on April 14 in Sanya, a city in China’s southern island province of Hainan (Xinhua).

DEFENSE

President Dilma Rousseff strongly supported the need to spend money on defence at a time when she is making big budget cuts in many area. Rousseff told the audience it would be a “big mistake” to consider spending on upgrading military technology to be an “idle effort.” Rousseff said that Brazil needs a strong military to defend its new offshore oil reserves, as well as guarantee the security of the vast Amazon region (MercoPress).

LAAD – Defence & Security, the most important trade show for the defence and security industry in Latin America – takes place every two years bringing together Brazilian and international companies that specialise in supplying equipment and services to all three major services of the Armed Forces, Police, special forces and security services, as well as consultants and government agencies. LAAD next week in Rio celebrates its 8th edition confirming its significance as an indispensable debating forum and a venue for presenting the state of art in defence and security technology (LAAD).

Embraer has chosen ELEB Equipamentos Ltda. to develop and produce the landing gear of the new KC-390 military transport jet. The contract was signed last week in São José dos Campos, in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, where both companies have their head offices (Embraer).

Brazil Business & Economy News

In Brazil on April 8, 2011 at 11:44 am

ECONOMY

Brazilian inflation accelerated more than economists expected in March from a year earlier, led by food and transportation costs, taking the annual rate near the upper limit of the government’s target range. On Thursday the Brazilian currency Real also further strengthened to a record 1.58 to the US dollar in spite of the latest measures (MercoPress).

Brazil doubled a tax on consumer credit as President Dilma Rousseff’s government shifts its focus to fighting inflation from curbing gains by the currency. Consumer loans, excluding mortgages, will be subject to a 3 percent annual tax, up from a previous rate of 1.5 percent, according to a Finance Ministry statement (Bloomberg).

Brazil’s credit rating was raised one level by Fitch Ratings, which cited the economy’s growth prospects and budget policy under President Dilma Rousseff (MercoPress).

Brazil’s industrial production rose at the fastest pace in 11 months in February. Output rose 1.9% from January and 6.9% from the same month a year earlier, the national statistics agency said (MercoPress).

The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) entered into a financing agreement in the amount of $ 300 million within the scope of the Green Line. The fund will be invested to support environmentally sustainable projects in Brazil (BNDES).

ETHANOL

Brazil wants to increase regulation of the domestic ethanol market to ensure output, signaling a move that could have major implications for global sugar supplies. President Dilma Rousseff has instructed Brazil’s National
Oil Agency, or ANP, to draft regulations that will treat ethanol as a “strategic fuel” and no longer as an agricultural commodity (Reuters).

AVIATION

Specialists could start recovering bodies of those killed in Air France’s 2009 plane crash off Brazil within weeks, French officials say (BBC).

Embraer and KLM Cityhopper, KLM’s regional subsidiary, has signed a contract for a further five EMBRAER 190 jets, firming up options originally placed in August 2007. The total value of the deal, at list price, is US$ 214 million, based on January 2011 economic conditions. The initial deliveries of this new order are scheduled to take place during the first semester of 2012. The Dutch airline still retains options on two more EMBRAER 190 jets (Embraer).

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BANKING

Brazil’s biggest bank – the state-run Banco do Brasil – is being sued for allegedly funding deforestation in the Amazon (BBC).

Banco do Brasil launched an obligatory offer to buy most of the shares it does not already own in Argentina’s Banco Patagonia, just days after Argentine regulators approved its purchase of a 51 percent stake in the bank (Reuters).

MINING

Vale, the world’s biggest producer of iron ore, has chosen a new chief executive. Former Vale executive Murilo Ferreira will return to the company on 22 May (BBC).

For a long time, the number one company in Brazilian industry, Vale (formerly Companhia Vale do Rio Doce) did not concern itself overly with social and environmental responsibility issues. Privatized in 1997, Vale went through a green revolution around ten years later, while expanding internationally, culminating in the acquisition of Canadian company Inco and becoming the world’s second largest mining group. Vale now produces iron ore, nickel and copper, but it has also decided to protect tens of thousands of hectares of tropical forest in Brazil and Indonesia, it produces biofuels in the Amazon and it is helping to preserve the Kanak languages in the south of New Caledonia (Vale).

Brazilian copper output is set to more than double in three years, metal the market will welcome at a time of fast-growing domestic demand and tighter global supplies that have driven up prices. A host of new mines should boost annual output to around 500,000 tonnes by 2014 up from 230,000 tonnes last year, or about 1.5 percent of world supply (Reuters).

Brazil Culture & Regional News

In Brazil on April 8, 2011 at 11:42 am

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

Render of the future Convention Centre for Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais.

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TRAVEL & TOURISM

It is only in the larger tourist cities that you will find pousadas though, and in places like Rio de Janeiro and Salvador for example there is a wonderful choice of high-ceiling colonial townhouses, design mansions and chic apartment Bed & Breakfast’s- in all price ranges from budget to luxury (The Rio Times).

Since Brazil was chosen as the host country for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Ministry of Tourism (MTur) has been drawing up a work plan to develop 65 Brazilian destinations into models of high quality tourism. This goal was established by the National Tourism Plan to enable the destination to provide excellent tourism facilities. In the World Cup year, Brazil will welcome eight million visitors, 600,000 of them during the World Cup month alone. Up to three million Brazilians could be traveling in the country during the event (Portal Brasil).

SPORTS

Alarm bells are ringing over Brazil’s preparations for the 2014 World Cup. Plans have already been criticised by Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, and it emerged that the Maracana stadium, which is to host the final, will require a new roof and may not be ready until 2013 (Telegraph).

BOOK OF THE MONTH

Through the lives of two powerful families, Brazil depicts five turbulent centuries in the history of a remarkable land. From colony to kingdom, from empire to nation, Brazil is filled with memorable people living through one of the great adventures in human history (Brazil – a novel).

AMAZON

The BNDES, under the Amazon Fund, approved R$ 9.3 million in financial support for the Federation of Organs for Social and Educational Assistance (FASE) to be used to develop the Dema Fund project – Sustainable Use in Pará state area within the Amazon (BNDES).

Novelist Edward Docx has spent almost a decade travelling to the Amazon, watching as multinational companies ravage the land he loves. Here is his heartfelt dispatch on the forest’s final frontier – still home to as many as 100 tribes of uncontacted Indians (The Guardian)

RIO

Throughout Rio, the implantation of UPPs in favelas have had predictable affects on bordering middle- and upper-class communities. As reported earlier, Santa Teresa is in the midst of a property boom, as real estate prices soar with the recent inauguration of UPPs in the favela communities of Prazeres and Escondidinho (The Rio Times).

The country is shaken by a tragic shooting at the Municipal School Tasso da Silveira in Rio de Janeiro’s western Realengo area of Zona Oeste (West zone). A gunman killed nine girls and one boy between the ages of 12 and 14. Thirteen children are being treated in various hospitals, four of which are in critical condition (The Rio Times).

Surgeons tell of relief as gunshot cases fall after ‘pacification’ of Rio’s favelas before the 2016 Olympics (The Guardian).

SAO PAULO

With a total of 535,000 visitors, the 29th Sao Paulo Biennial, held between September 19 and December 12, 2010, ranked as the 12th most visited exhibition in the world last year (Portal Brasil).

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on April 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm

POLITICS

In perhaps the most significant step since she took office on January 1st, President Dilma Rousseff has differentiated herself from former leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva by supporting the UN vote to monitor human rights in Iran. It marks Brazil’s first change in foreign policy under the new administration and demonstrates Brazil’s desire to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council (The Rio Times).

Brazil’s former Vice-President, Jose Alencar, has died at the age of 79 after a long battle with cancer. Mr Alencar served eight years as deputy to former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who left office at the end of last year (BBC).

Contrary to the rest of Latin American countries, Brazil is the only where an amnesty law sanctioned by the military dictatorship in 1979 remains effective, ignoring a ruling from the Inter American Court of Human Rights, according to jurist Helio Bicudo (MercoPress).

President Dilma Rousseff launched an intensive care program for pregnant women. The Stork Network program will be part of the public healthcare system, and will receive an investment of 9 billion reais (5.42 billion U.S. dollars) in the next four years (Xinhua).

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INTERNATIONAL

Brazil has signed an agreement with Bolivia to tackle cocaine production and trafficking in the country. The deal aims to replace the void when Bolivia expelled the US Drug Enforcement Administration in 2008 for alleged political interference (BBC).

The World Trade Organization ruled that the United States is illegally taxing about 2 billion US dollars a year of imported Brazilian frozen orange juice (MercoPress).

Brazil is considering offering financial support to Portugal to help its former colonial power avoid being sucked even deeper into its debt crisis. President Dilma Rousseff said that her government was studying ways in which it could buy Portuguese government debt. Another option would be to give Portugal a cash injection by buying back some of the Brazilian government debt it currently owns (The Guardian).

President Dilma Rousseff’s upcoming visit to China will mark a new phase in relations between the two countries, a Brazilian official said. In the face of the changing economic global order after the financial crisis, relations between the two countries have been marked by “cooperation and competition,” said Maria Edileuza Fontenele Reis, ambassador and deputy permanent secretary for Asia at the Foreign Ministry (Xinhua).

DEFENSE

The agreement on the production of submarines signed by the governments of Brazil and France in December 2008 was favorably reported out on the Senate Committee on External Relations and National Defense. The legislative decree bill (PDS 79\11) will be now analyzed by the Plenary (Senado Federal).

Embraer, the world’s biggest regional aircraft maker, is negotiating the purchase of a company in the defense and security segment and could announce the deal in coming weeks, Chief Executive Frederico Curado said (Reuters).

Brazil Business & Economy News

In Brazil on April 1, 2011 at 12:28 pm

ECONOMY

Brazil’s maturing economy will no longer grow at the breakneck clip of the last decade, settling in at a moderated pace of 4 to 5 percent a year that will still provide ample investment opportunities, economists said (Reuters).

Brazil is in position to have its investment grade credit rating boosted this year, the top credit analyst for Latin America at Fitch Ratings said (Reuters).

Brazil’s central bank raised its inflation forecast for 2011, although it lowered its forecast for next year (Reuters).

AGRI

As cotton prices soar on the world market, the pressure is on in Brazil to maximize its position as the world’s fifth largest producer of the commodity.  With a favorable WTO ruling over the U.S. last year and ensuing trade deal, Brazil is expected to significantly increase the amount of cotton it produces, though trade barriers in the U.S. remain largely the same (The Rio Times).

AVIATION

A U.S. pilot involved in one of Brazil’s worst air disasters appeared before a Brazilian judge by videoconference, denying allegations that his plane’s anti-collision system was disconnected at the time of the 2006 crash (Washington Post).

Brazil has signed agreements with Mexico, Russia and Canada that allow for increased air traffic with those countries, its aviation authority said (Reuters).

Tam SA, the Brazilian airline that agreed to be bought by Lan Airlines SA last year, may purchase a stake in Trip Linhas Aereas SA to regain domestic market leadership over Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA (Bloomberg).

Singapore Airlines launched flights to the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo, the airline’s first destination in South America (Xinhua).

BANKING & FINANCE

Ten years ago, Goldman Sachs proclaimed that Brazil was among the new economic powerhouses. Now it is the next frontier for hedge funds (New York Times).

Billions of dollars are rushing into Brazil’s economy. International private equity firms like Blackstone and the Carlyle Group are scrambling to capture of a piece of this emerging market before it has fully emerged. JPMorgan Chase recently bought 55 percent of Gávea, a seven-year-old investment fund with $6 billion under management co-founded by Arminio Fraga, the former president of the central bank of Brazil from 1999 to 2002 (New York Times).

The Brazilian government is planning to impose a financial operations tax on overseas bond issues by Brazilian companies, local financial daily Valor Economico reported (MercoPress).

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BIOFUELS

Brazil may import ethanol from the United States in April, Brazil’s oil regulator says. The move comes as a growing number of Brazilian cane farmers choose to produce sugar, which has surged in price over the last year, rather than ethanol, leading to a spike in fuel costs (New York Times).

HIGH SPEED

Brazil will postpone a $19 billion tender to build and operate a bullet train from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo and Campinas, an infrastructure project that the government had hoped to have at least partially ready for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games (Reuters).

MINING & STEEL

The world’s largest iron ore miner, Brazil’s Vale, said its holding company would meet to select a replacement for acting chief executive Roger Agnelli on April 7 from a list of three potential candidates compiled by an international head hunter (Reuters).

Banco Bradesco SA, a shareholder in the controlling group of Vale, will nominate Tito Botelho Martins to replace Roger Agnelli as Chief Executive Officer of the mining company, Folha de S.Paulo said (Bloomberg).

Vale will appeal a court ruling allowing the government to charge it 25 billion reais ($15 billion) in unpaid taxes on profits from foreign subsidiaries (Reuters).

A wave of mergers in Brazil’s steel industry is unlikely, as mills look for ways other than combinations to grow their business and unlock asset value, the chief executive of Usiminas, Brazil’s biggest maker of steel products for automakers, said (Reuters).

PORTS

Billionaire Eike Batista’s Acu Port construction site had its access road blocked by about 300 workers in a demonstration for better lodging conditions and a pay increase (Bloomberg).

POWER

CPFL Energia SA, a Brazilian power company, will invest 600 million reais ($368 million) to build five wind farms in the country’s northern state Rio Grande do Norte (Bloomberg).

TELECOMS

Brazilian telecommunications company GVT plans to spend 10 billion reais ($6 billion) over the next five years to boost coverage in Latin America’s largest economy (Reuters).

Tax burden and inadequate infrastructure make broadband Internet service in Brazil much more expensive than in other countries, Rio’s Industry Federation FIRJAN said (Xinhua).

Brazil Culture & Regional News

In Brazil on April 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm

PROJECT OF THE WEEK

The Casa das Caldeiras project for the city of Sao Paulo. For an impressive list of Sao Paulo projects see here.

WORLD CUP

Brazil reassured FIFA they will be ready to stage a good World Cup in 2014 after the world soccer governing body’s president Sepp Blatter criticized delays in the country’s preparations (Reuters).

Construction projects related to Brazil’s World Cup, already well behind schedule, have run into another unexpected problem — financing (Reuters).

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BOOKS

“Heliopolis,” James Scudamore’s exhilarating satire of class conflict in Sao Paulo, Brazil, merits just about every hackneyed plaudit one can hurl at it. It’s a book that one finds oneself very reluctant to put down, even when one had to (Washington Post).

AMAZON

A new study has revealed widespread reductions in the greenness of Amazon forests caused by the last year’s record-breaking drought (MercoPress).

PETROPOLIS

Petrópolis plans to be a major tourist destination during the winter months (June-August) once again. After the heavy rains devastated the state of Rio de Janeiro, Petrópolis is gearing up to host its annual events, hoping to recuperate some of the losses from the sharp drop in tourism in late January and February (The Rio Times).

RIO

Nowhere is this frenetic changing pace of real estate renewal more apparent than in middle-class neighborhood Botafogo, nestled at the bottom of the valley that has the Lagoa Rodrigo da Freitas at one end and Praia Botafogo at the other. Soaring prices have already put it out of reach for many, and at the same time, making it more attractive to the affluent (The Rio Times).

On Thursday 6th July 1922, the Republican government of Brazil had heard the army was on the verge of revolt, and pre-emptively shut several army bases. One army base, Forte de Copacabana, remained in the hands of the revolutionaries, and the government told the men surrender or die (The Rio Times).

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