News from Brazil

Brazil Business & Economy News

In Brazil on September 14, 2012 at 9:58 am

ECONOMY

Brazil has cut its growth forecast for this year as the global downturn hits exports and rising local debt levels weigh on consumption. The country will grow 2% this year, down from its previous forecast of 3%, Finance Minister Guido Mantega predicted (BBC).

Brazilians spend twice as much on the electricity costs built into other goods and services as on their own residential bills, calculates FIPE, a research institute at the University of São Paulo. High energy tariffs can be passed on to the consumer in this way partly because Brazil’s economy is fairly closed. This shows little sign of changing. On September 4th the government announced a year-long rise in import tariffs on 100 goods, ranging from tyres to medicines, to protect Brazilian manufacturers. Another 100 items may be added to the list next month (The Economist).

Brazil’s decision to slash electricity costs next year should ease price pressures and help anchor inflation expectations, central bank chief Alexandre Tombini said (Reuters).

Retail sales grew more than expected in July for the second straight month as domestic demand supported an incipient recovery in the world’s sixth largest economy (Reuters).

Just a few months ago, Brazil’s government dreamed of a 4 percent economic expansion for 2012. With second-quarter statistics in — GDP grew just 0.4 percent over the first quarter — the Central Bank now says expectations are that the year will close on a figure of 1.64 percent (Bloomberg).

Brazilian export targets for 2012 are set to be missed for the first time since they were first introduced in 2003 due to a crash in the global price of iron ore, one of Brazil’s key exports. With sales from January to August totaling US$160.5 billion, the government has admitted the US$264 billion target for the year is unlikely to be met (The Rio Times).

BUSINESS

Carlyle Group, the world’s No. 2 buyout firm, said it struck a deal to buy a 60 percent stake in Brazilian furniture retailer Tok&Stok, seeking to expand in a buoyant consumer market with rising incomes and robust demand for homes (Reuters).

Homebuilder Gafisa is considering floating its majority-owned offshoot Alphaville in order to capture the company’s true worth which the market has underestimated, the company said in a securities filing (Reuters).

U.S. soft drinks giant Coca-Cola has said that the company is to keep its word over plans to invest R$2.8 billion (around US$1.4 billion) in the company’s Brazilian arm, Coca-Cola Brasil, this year. The company’s top man in Brazil chief said the company would meet its investment target for 2012, and was also “certain” to improve on it further next year (The Rio Times).

AUTOMOTIVE

Brazil will demand that carmakers improve fuel efficiency by 11 percent next year or lose a substantial discount on their tax bill, according to two government sources, in a move expected to bolster a wave of investments in local engine plants (Reuters).

AVIATION

Embraer, the world’s largest maker of regional jets, is set to deliver its first plane to Belarusian carrier Belavia as part of a recent push into the backyard of an upstart Russian rival. Belavia is the ninth airline to fly Embraer’s regional E-Jets in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and the region’s sixth new client since 2010 — a pace of growth likely to continue in coming years (Reuters).

Indonesia’s Sriwijaya Air President Director Chandra Lie said that the firm has allocated 9 trillion rupiah (about 940.1 million U.S. dollars) to acquire 20 Embraer commercial planes for its would-be operated Nam Air, expecting initial delivery next year (Xinhua).

Gol’s directors met with executives of Qatar Airways on Sept. 4, Veja reported on its Radar On-Line column, without saying where it got the information. The Brazilian carrier’s press office denied the company is in talks with Qatar to sell the business. A Qatar Airways spokesman declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News.

BANKING & FINANCE

Merrill Lynch must pay $3.6 million to an heiress from Brazil who said she lost tens of millions of dollars due to unauthorized trades made by her brother in her account, a securities arbitration panel has ruled (Reuters).

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MINING & STEEL

Anglo American Plc received approval from a Brazilian court to restart mine construction at its Minas-Rio iron ore project (Reuters).

OIL & GAS

Petrobras wants domestic fuel prices to gradually rise to match international crude oil as any sudden price hikes would hurt the country’s economy,  Chief Executive Maria das Gracas Foster said (Reuters).

Venezuela’s PDVSA has until November to decide if it will participate in a refinery under construction near Recife, Maria das Gracas Foster, chief executive of Petrobras, which is building the project, told Brazilian senators (Reuters).

Petrobras said that it had started oil production at the Baleia Azul presalt field in the offshore Campos Basin. The first well at the field started pumping about 20,000 barrels of light crude oil late Monday to the Cidade de Anchieta floating production, storage and offloading vessel, the company said. Jose Formigli, Petrobras’s director of exploration and production, had said last month that first oil at the field would be pumped by the end of August (NASDAQ).

PORTS & LOGISTICS

Eike Batista has cancelled plans to buy back shares in and delist his logistics company LLX, the company said in a securities filing, after an independent valuation said the shares were worth more than double the 3.30 reais ($1.63) he had proposed to pay (Reuters).

Rio de Janeiro’s port authority said in August 2011 that it expected to publish the bidding rules for a new iron-ore terminal in weeks. The subsequent delay is benefiting Brazil’s richest man. The roadblocks to building the Area do Meio terminal at the Port of Itaguai will boost MMX, the mining company of billionaire Eike Batista, which is readying its own terminal in the same location. Scheduled to start up in the second quarter of 2013, it will be the only new port for miners in the region for as many as five years (Bloomberg).

POWER

Spain’s Gamesa said its Brazilian unit has signed a 340 million euro ($438.21 million) contract with Santa Vitoria do Palmar Holding to supply 129 wind turbines in the south of the country (Reuters).

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