News from Brazil

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Politics & Government

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2010 at 8:45 am

ELECTIONS

Who is Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s potential next President? Read the view from Oliver Stuenkel, visiting Professor in International Relations at the University of Sao Paulo (USP), at Postwesternworld.

Jose Serra, the main opposition candidate in the October presidential election, has proposed senator Alvaro Dias from his centrist party to be his running mate (Reuters).

Ruling party candidate Dilma Rousseff took a significant lead over her main rival for the first time, gaining from a booming economy and the president’s lofty popularity. Rousseff had 40 percent support in the survey taken from June 19-21, compared to Serra’s 35 percent (Reuters).

Jose Serra criticized Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of using the government machine to promote the ruling party’s presidential candidate, former Chief of Staff Dilma Rousseff (Xinhua).

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva canceled his trip to Toronto, Canada, to attend the G-20 Summit, which gathers the leaders of the largest group of developed and developing countries, because of the emergency situation in Brazil’s northeast region due to heavy rains and floods (Xinhua).

Brazil’s finance minister criticized proposed targets for Group of 20 economies to halve their budget deficits by 2013, saying they could threaten global economic growth (Reuters).

Brazil aims to broaden its dialogue with communist North Korea to include discussion of the Asian nation’s nuclear weapons program and security on the Korean peninsula, its ambassador in Pyongyang said (Reuters).

Brazil’s foreign minister said he still hoped a plan for Iran to part with some of its nuclear material could serve as the basis for further talks with Tehran about its nuclear programme, despite new sanctions (Reuters).

The Brazilian government announced the creation of a 100-million-U.S.-dollar fund to finance Argentine high-tech companies and Brazilian enterprises established in the neighboring country (Xinhua).

Bulgaria and Brazil agreed to accelerate negotiations on signing economic cooperation agreements and enhance bilateral trade, which was lower than expected (Xinhua).

On his first official visit to Serbia, Celso Amorim, Brazil’s foreign minister, signed two separate agreements in Belgrade that would abolish visa requirements for citizens and diplomats of the two countries (Xinhua).

Last week’s Brazil Weekly’s poll on the question of which countries should be Brazil’s stratigic partners, yielded interesting results, partly reflecting the country’s recent policies of diversifying its diplomatic efforts. Around 25% of you, Brazil buffs and experts, think Brazil should focus on Europe, the E.U. in particular, including a minority that favours strong ties with France (7%). Just over 13% of you favour the U.S. as Brazil’s most strategic partner, while China comes third place with almost 10% of your votes. But if you add up the votes in favour of the remaining three BRIC countries or BRIC in general, this group is a clear winner, with, besides China, India taking 7%, Russia 4% and BRIC in general 7%): totalling some 28% of all votes cast by you. Other preferred partners are the “Portuguese speaking world” (7%), South Africa (5%) and Latin-American countries (10%). Among the latter Argentina leads the way, followed by Venezuela and Cuba. The battle for the Middle East was won by Israel (4%), while Turkey and the “Arab world” received 2% each. In spite of Brazil’s recent attempts to broker a nuclear deal with Iran, that country received zero points.

DEFENCE

Brazil and Italy signed a naval agreement to jointly develop patrol vessels and logistic support vessels (Xinhua).

SOCIAL

The Brazilian government plans to completely eradicate child labor over the next three years (Xinhua).

Overweight and obesity in Brazil increased from 42.7 to 46.6 percent of the population over the last four years, while the percentage of the obese rose from 11.4 to 13.9 percent (Xinhua).

Business & Economy

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2010 at 8:45 am

ECONOMY

Brazil’s total stock of bank credit climbed in May in the latest sign a credit expansion is helping fuel growth (Reuters).

Brazil’s economy expanded nearly 11 percent in April compared to the same month a year ago, a central bank indicator showed (Reuters).

Brazil’s unemployement rate was higher than economists expected in May even as officials said the economy is showing signs of labor shortages in some industries (Bloomberg).

Brazil is aiming to cut inflation- adjusted borrowing costs to 4 percent under the next president, less than half the level in 2006, as the economy expands and the government reins in spending (Bloomberg).

OIL

Petrobras will add 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of refining capacity by 2020 to meet growing demand for oil products in South America (Reuters).

Petrobras expects more stringent government regulations in Brazil on offshore drilling, following BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (Reuters).

The Brazilian government is “in no rush” to approve BP’s $7 billion purchase of Devon Energy’s assets in the country as it assesses the impact of BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (Reuters).

Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency (ANP) announced they are set to review the deal between BP and Devon in light of the on-going clean up operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The ANP have said that the review is normal procedure, though it seems certain the decision was influenced by the prolonged environmental disaster and ensuing political conflict between the oil company and US government as regards their liability (The Rio Times).

Petrobras said its seventh well in the offshore Tupi field confirmed the potential of light oil in pre- salt reserves (Bloomberg).

Petrobras plans to invest $224 billion through 2014 as it seeks to develop the Americas’ largest discovery in three decades and more than double output (Bloomberg).

Petrobras CEO Sergio Gabrielli said the company will meet its investment plan for 2010 despite a delay in its massive stock offering (Bloomberg).

OGX, the oil company controlled by Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, may begin producing crude in Colombia in 2012 as government efforts to reduce guerrilla attacks on pipelines and other infrastructure lure investment (Bloomberg).

BRAZIL WEEKLY ON VACATION

Please note the Brazil Weekly team will be on holidays during the month of July. The next edition of Brazil Weekly will therefore arrive early August.

ETHANOL

Petrobras said it will invest 420 million reais ($239 million) in two units of the Sao Martinho milling group, the second major tie-up for the oil company in ethanol in as many months (Reuters).

BUSINESS

Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates has instructed state bank Caixa Geral de Depositos to reject a bid by Spain’s Telefonica for Portugal Telecom’s stake in Brazil’s Vivo (Reuters).

Telefonica’s expansion plans foundered after associate Portugal Telecom (PT) rejected its takeover bid for Vivo, Brazil’s leading mobile phone operator (Xinhua).

Robert Bosch Gmbh may make acquisitions in Brazil and plans to invest 45 million reais ($25 million) this year in fixed assets in the country (Bloomberg).

Maquina de Vendas SA, Brazil’s second-biggest retailer created by a merger this year, agreed to buy electrical-appliances chain City Lar, increasing the number of its stores to 750 (Bloomberg).

BANKING & FINANCE

ICAP Plc, the world’s largest broker of transactions between banks, plans to buy brokerages in Brazil this year (Bloomberg).

Regional & Culture

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2010 at 8:44 am

BUILDING OF THE WEEK

Render of Rio’s new Museum of Image and Sound on Copacabana (DS +R).

BRAZIL WEEKLY ON VACATION

Please note the Brazil Weekly team will be on holidays during the month of July. The next edition of Brazil Weekly will therefore arrive early August.

NORTHEAST

A financial revolution has given hundreds of thousands of poor families access to credit for the first time and played a role in turning the long impoverished and handout-dependent northeast into Brazil’s fastest-growing region (Reuters).

Glistening skyscrapers reflect the baby blue waters across a thin border of white beach. At night, the city illuminates the ocean and gradually comes alive to the sound of dance music and forró. Fortaleza is Brazil’s modern metropolis of the north, attracting both international and Brazilian tourists by the thousands every year (The Rio Times).

The boom in Brazil’s sunbelt is visible in the dozens of luxury condominiums being erected along Recife’s main beach front, soaring sales of household appliances and an unprecedented expansion of credit pulling millions into a home- and car-owning middle class (Reuters).

RIO

Rio now takes the title of most expensive city in the Americas for foreigners to live, according to a recent survey (The Rio Times).

As property continues on a steep upward trajectory in Rio, The Rio Times decided to take a look at what can still be had in some of the city’s best known neighborhoods for around R$300,000 (US$167,926). As most urban Cariocas tend to live in apartments, they’ve focused on this sector of the market, with Leblon excluded due to the price band, which will be increased in part two of the series (The Rio Times).

SAO PAULO

Maybe there‘s hope yet for São Paulo‘s suffering drivers, perpetually trapped in anguished gridlock. The first two stations of the new Yellow Line No. 4 metro are now open, and for anyone who‘s ever cursed Av. Rebouças while idling on a smoggy day, there‘s light at the end of Marta‘s tunnel (Gringoes).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

Politics & Government

In Uncategorized on June 20, 2010 at 11:13 am

ELECTIONS

Presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff pledged to continue the policies of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva but to govern Brazil with the “soul and heart of a woman” if she wins October’s election (Reuters).

Dilma Rousseff received her party’s nomination for president and vowed to cut tax rates while increasing the number of taxpayers (Bloomberg).

Retired senior federal police officer Onézimo Sousa confirmed to have received an invitation to investigate PSDB’s candidate to the Brazilian Presidency, José Serra. He answered congressmen’s inquiries, on Wednesday (17), at the Congress’ Joint Committee for the Control of Intelligence Activities (Senado Federal).

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Brazil has been a member of the UN Security Council on ten separate occasions since 1946 and it had never before voted against a resolution backed by a majority of the council’s members. But on June 9th Brazil and Turkey both opposed further sanctions against Iran. Read the full analysis at The Economist.

Brazil suspended retaliatory measures against U.S. goods over a cotton subsidy dispute, freezing until 2012 a long-running row that has demonstrated the South American nation’s trade clout (Reuters).

BRAZIL WEEKLY POLL

Who should be Brazil’s partners in the world? You can tick as many options as you want…

DEFENCE

Brazil is making determined efforts to upgrade its armed forces to a level consistent with the country’s regional and global importance.  Read the full report at Jane’s.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

A new Brazilian law authorizing electronic monitoring of prisoners serving their sentences in semi-open regime or under house arrest entered into effect (Xinhua).

Business & Economy

In Uncategorized on June 20, 2010 at 11:04 am

ECONOMY

Brazil’s economy will grow solidly in 2010, but a slowdown from the first quarter will allow the government to bring inflation back to target by year-end, Finance Minister Guido Mantega said (Reuters).

Brazil’s central bank took too long to raise the benchmark overnight rate this year to head off inflation, which has increased the risk of an asset bubble, the chief economist of Citigroup told Valor Economico newspaper (Reuters).

Brazil plans to extend until December tax cuts on the sale of trucks, tractors and pick-up trucks to boost sales (Bloomberg).

OIL

Petrobras and Portugal’s largest bank CGD are preparing to seal a deal to buy a 33.3 percent stake in Portuguese Galp Energia held by Italy’s ENI (Reuters).

Petrobras found more evidence of oil in an onshore well in Brazil’s Guriri field, the Brazilian petroleum regulator said (Bloomberg).

BANKING

Banco do Brasil said Brazil’s sovereign wealth fund would buy nearly 18 percent of the bank’s stock in a proposed share offering (Reuters).

BUSINESS

Brazilian phone group Oi has won the support of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to prevent a possible buyout attempt by Portugal Telecom (Reuters).

Toyota Motor Corp is set to resume construction of car assembly plants in Brazil and Mississippi which were put on hold amid the global financial crisis (Reuters).

Growing risk aversion and the worsening of the sovereign debt crisis in the euro region probably led Brazilian steelmaker CSN to put off the long-awaited listing of its iron ore unit, which the company had planned for the first half of this year (Reuters).

A Brazilian federal court ruled that steelmakers CSN and Usiminas harmed competition by agreeing to raise prices for some steel products in 1996 and 1997, upholding a previous ruling by the antitrust agency (Reuters).

Brazilian processed foods company Marfrig Alimentos SA said it reached an agreement to buy major U.S. distributor Keystone Foods for $1.26 billion, in a bid to expand as a supplier to some of the world’s largest restaurant chains (Reuters).

Cosan, the world’s biggest sugar-cane processor, and 84 more Brazilian ethanol makers this month will seek authorization to build a 3 billion-real ($1.7 billion) pipeline to ship fuel to a southeastern port from producing areas in Sao Paulo state (Bloomberg).

Vale SA, the world’s largest iron- ore producer, is driving borrowing costs relative to BHP Billiton Ltd. down from a one-month high by reducing its dependence on China (Bloomberg).

Brazil’s Vale mining company and German steel maker ThyssenKrupp started constructing a huge steel-making complex, the largest of its kind in Latin America (Xinhua).

REAL ESTATE

Brazil’s property market continues to prosper, prices continue to rise, and real estate is of course becoming big business. There are a lot of companies out there to choose between, however, and the quality of service varies enormously, particularly in comparison to the USA or UK. Often they don’t publish their information in English either, so it can be a very frustrating process to go through as a foreign buyer (The Rio Times).

Regional & Travel

In Uncategorized on June 20, 2010 at 11:03 am

BUILDING OF THE WEEK

The Sao Paulo Cidade Jardim Corporate Center office towers, currently under construction (Source).

PICTURES WANTED!

Help us develop and continue this feature of Building of the Week by sending pictures of your projects!

MARANHAO

Read about the beautiful Lencoes National Park at the New York Times.

SAO PAULO

Sao Paulo’s Morumbi stadium has been excluded from hosting any games during the 2014 World Cup after Brazil’s largest city missed a deadline to present financial guarantees for the venue’s required renovation (Bloomberg).

AMAZON

As overseas investors continue to speculate on the thriving Rio de Janeiro market, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva came out against the untethered purchasing of land by foreigners last week, saying that he intends to protect the country from the proliferation of foreign ownership (The Rio Times).

Nestle SA will begin sailing a supermarket barge down two Amazon river tributaries as it competes with Unilever to reach emerging-market customers cut off from branded goods (Bloomberg).

RIO

Anima Mundi is back on the screens of Rio. The Animation Festival of Brazil will be on show in Rio from July 16th to July 25th (Rio Official Guide).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

Government & Politics

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2010 at 11:45 am

ELECTIONS

Jose Serra formally became the presidential candidate of Brazil’s main opposition party, saying he would run a more ethical government at home and abroad than President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Reuters).

The former governor of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s wealthiest and most populous state, received his party’s nomination for president and vowed to grow the nation’s economy in a “sustainable way” if elected. Serra said the country must no longer be the nation with the highest interest rates in the world and the biggest tax burden among developing nations (Bloomberg).

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The Brazilian foreign minister acknowledged that his country’s international trade may be affected as a result of its voting against sanctions on Iran at the UN Security Council. During a public hearing at the Chamber of Deputies, Celso Amorim also confirmed that Brazil will respect the decision of the Council (XINHUA).

DEFENCE

Steel cutting for Brazil’s first Scorpene submarine started during a ceremony at the Cherbourg facility of French shipbuilder, DCNS. Four conventionally powered Scorpene-class diesel-electric attack submarines (SSKs) and a single nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) are to be built for the Brazilian Navy under its EUR 6.7 billion (USD 9.5 billion) submarine development programme (SBr) (Jane’s).

Airbus Military is in talks to sell eight military transport aircraft to Brazil’s air force. Brazil’s air force already has 12 C-295 aircraft (Bloomberg).

SECURITY

The Brazilian government is currently considering a range of options aimed at the slowing rapid growth in the country’s prison population, including the use of electronic surveillance as a means of freeing up space in dangerously overcrowded cells (The Rio Times).

CLOSED POLLS

Business & Economy

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2010 at 11:45 am

ECONOMY

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva praised this week’s gross domestic product data, calling it well-deserved “exuberant growth,” but some say such rampant expansion could be a curse, not a blessing (Reuters).

Brazil’s booming economy grew at its fastest clip in at least 14 years in the first quarter, beating expectations and signaling robust growth for 2010 in contrast to the struggling European and U.S. economies (Reuters).

Brazil has boosted funds available for rural credit in 2010/11 by 8 percent for its massive agricultural sector, with more loans for investment in carbon-cutting farming and on-farm silos to hold grains (Reuters).

Brazil plans to step up job training for those receiving minimum income from the government, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said. In his weekly radio show, Lula told the nation an initiative to that end is the “Next Step” program, which will train beneficiaries of Bolsa Familia program to work for civil construction projects (Xinhua).

OIL

Brazil’s Senate passed a plan that creates a production-sharing model to replace the existing concession system in future oil projects, boosting government control over massive deepwater reserves off the country’s coastline (Reuters).

Brazil could benefit from the BP Gulf of Mexico spill as a U.S. moratorium on offshore drilling boosts available rigs for the country’s deep water oil exploration program (Reuters).

BANKING

Banco Santander Brasil SA plans to spend 450 million reais ($243.5 million) on a technology and research center in Sao Paulo as Brazil’s third-largest private-sector bank expands its business in the country (Reuters).

Banco Votorantim, the financial services division of Grupo Votorantim, plans to boost its investments-banking team by 50 percent this year as part of a plan to increase the unit’s share in total sales (Bloomberg).

AVIATION

TAM, Brazil’s largest air carrier, is poised to order Airbus aircraft worth just under $3 billion (Reuters).

Eight of Brazil’s major metropolitan airports have been described in a recent report as facing an imminent inability to cope with increased traffic that could lead to a complete “logistical blackout” (The Rio Times).

RESEARCH

In a move that underscores the growing importance of emerging markets and the globalization of innovation, International Business Machines Corp. said it will open a research laboratory in Brazil with the cooperation of the country’s government (Wall Street Journal).

COMPUTING

Global IT services provider HCL Technologies (HCL) said it will aggressively focus on expanding its infrastructure services in the Brazil market (Times of India).

TELECOMS

Monopoly in the telecommunications sector in Brazil has caused service to be offered at inappropriately high prices compared with people’s income, an official study showed (Xinhua).

REAL ESTATE

The booming real estate industry in Brazil remains untouched by the economic fall out of the 2008 credit crunch. Partly due to foreign speculation as a result of the forthcoming 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics on these shores, partly due to the boost in domestic demand amongst increasingly affluent Brazilians, housing prices have risen in a manner never before witnessed in the country (The Rio Times).

SHIPBUILDING

Petrobras has approved a lease agreement for the Inhaúma Shipyard, also known as the Ishibras yard, with Companhia Brasileira de Diques – CBD, for a term of 20 years and for approximately R$4 million per month. The shipyard is located in the Guanabara Bay, it has a draft (depth) of 7 meters, is inserted into the urban network of the city of Rio de Janeiro, and may be used to convert vessels into FPSOs (Floating Production, Storage, and Offloading units), a procedure which today is done abroad (Petrobras).

Regional & Travel

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2010 at 11:45 am

BUILDING OF THE WEEK

The Village Ritz residential tower for Belem

Please send us your picture of buildings and projects, so we can continue this feature!

RIO

Brazil’s Senate has approved a bill that would divide billions of dollars in oil royalties equally among the country’s states, threatening the country’s largest oil producing state, Rio de Janeiro, with the loss of up to $4 billion in revenue (New York Times).

Proper policing, better government and a stronger economy are starting to make a difference in the more violent and squalid districts of Brazil’s former capital (The Economist).

BAHIA

Chapada Diamantina Park sits in the center of Bahia State and gives visitors the chance to hike through a truly unique landscape. The green mesas that rise out of the earth are enough to stop the visitor in their tracks but closer inspection reveals numerous caves and waterfalls to also be explored (The Rio Times).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

Politics & Government

In Uncategorized on June 6, 2010 at 9:40 am

POLITICAL RISK

Brazil’s presidential election in October looks less risky to investors than any other in the last quarter of a century and the economy has bounced back after a brief recession, but there are still investment risks to watch in Brazil this year. Read on at Reuters.

ELECTIONS

Brazil’s former Cabinet Chief Dilma Rousseff has pulled into a tie with former Sao Paulo opposition governor Jose Serra ahead of October’s presidential election, according to an O Globo and Estado de S. Paulo survey (Bloomberg).

DEFENCE

Last week’s Brazil Weekly’s poll on the question of whether Brazil should have a nuclear bomb yielded some surprising results. You, Brazil experts and policymakers, are well divided on the subject. About 45 % of you are downright opposed to a Brazilian bomb, while 23 % are in favour and think a bomb fits Brazil’s new great powers status. Some 25 % of you think Brazil should not yet make the bomb, but instead make preparations for its production, just in case…. A small minority of you (8%) think Brazil already has the bomb. The poll is now closed:

EADS, European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co., said it agreed a joint venture wih Odebrecht to target the defense and security market in Brazil (EADS).

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Brazil will send a team of experts to the United States to seek clarification about the methods it uses to test processed meat imports for residues, the agriculture ministry said (Reuters).

Brazil asked South Korea’s sovereign wealth fund to boost investment in real-denominated bonds to strengthen financial ties between the countries (Bloomberg).

Could Turkey and Brazil end the siege of Gaza? Read some thoughts at The Huffington Post.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has launched TV Brasil, a new Portuguese-language network based in Mozambique’s capital Maputo and tasked with “saying good things” about Brazil (Franc24).

SPLIT SECOND POLL