March 4, 2014
Paulo Sotero, 3/4/2014
The contrast between the Brazilian Foreign Ministry’s criticism of the crackdown on protesters in Kiev and the cautious statement released as protests spread in Venezuela was highlighted in commentary published in the Brazilian media last week that was critical of Dilma Rousseff’s timid foreign policy, in contrast to the active diplomacy during the Lula administration.
”The situation in Venezuela is different from Ukraine,” Rousseff said, defending her government’s posture. She noted that Venezuela has achieved important social gains in democracy for the poorest sectors of the population and that those gains should be preserved. Referring to the protests, the Brazilian president added that “Brazil supports freedom of expression,” stressing that “we believe, under any circumstance, that dialogue, consensus, and democracy building are better than any kind of institutional rupture.”
Most observers in Brazil, including those who oppose Brasília’s often accommodating attitude vis-à-vis the Bolivarian governments of South America, agree that the conflict in Venezuela is unlikely to lead to an outcome similar to the Ukrainian crisis, which resulted in a change of government. Even critics of chavismoview opposition leader Leopoldo López’s strategy of forcing a show down with President Nicolás Maduro as naive, dangerous, and potentially counterproductive. “Were it to succeed, it would likely lead to a military intervention and to less—not more—democracy in Venezuela,” says one analyst who follows events in Caracas closely and has no sympathy for either Maduro or Rousseff. This analyst, reflecting a broadly shared view in Brazil, said that the more measured approach of the governor of the state of Miranda, Henrique Capriles, who narrowly lost the presidential election to Maduro last year, is preferable. With the Venezuelan economy rapidly deteriorating and divisions emerging in the chavista camp, Capriles is betting on a recall election which, according the country’s constitution, can take place mid-way through Maduro’s term. Such an institutional path to regime change in Caracas would be widely supported in the region.
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March 11, 2014
Denyse Godoy – Bloomberg, 3/11/2014
Ibovespa futures rose as a bigger-than-forecast increase in industrial production and higher commodity prices boosted the outlook for Brazilian stocks.
Light SA, which generates and distributes electricity in the state of Rio de Janeiro, may be active after quarterly revenue trailed estimates. Soybean producer Vanguarda Agro SA (VAGR3) may move as it said it will post its first profit in 2014.
Ibovespa futures contracts expiring in April gained 0.8 percent to 46,150 at 9:28 a.m. in Sao Paulo. The real was little changed at 2.3493 per U.S. dollar. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 raw materials added 0.1 percent. Commodity producers account for 35 percent of the Ibovespa’sweighting, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
March 10, 2014
Tales Azzoni – The Associated Press, 3/9/2014
Brazilian officials inaugurated the Arena da Amazonia in the jungle city of Manaus, the ninth World Cup stadium to become available for soccer’s showcase event. Three still have to be finished, including the one hosting the opener in Sao Paulo in about three months.
The Arena da Amazonia wasn’t fully completed Sunday but local authorities inaugurated the venue with a regional championship match with nearly 20,000 people in attendance, including workers who helped to build the venue.
The 44,000-capacity stadium will host four World Cup matches in June, including England vs. Italy and United States vs. Portugal.
March 10, 2014
Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 3/10/2014
Brazil’s GDP will come in lower than expected this year, according to the Central Bank’s Focus survey released on Monday.
The average response from economists at Brazil’s biggest investment banks suggests 2014 GDP coming in at 1.68% from a previous forecast of 1.7%. Next year’s GDP target stood unchanged at 2%. Four weeks ago, projections were 1.9% and 2.2% respectively, suggesting the nation’s economists are increasingly bearish.
On Monday, the iShares MSCI Brazil (EWZ) exchange traded fund was down 1.26%, adding to the year’s 10.83% decline. Brazil is underperforming the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
March 10, 2014
Rogerio Jelmayer & Matthew Cowley – The Wall Street Journal, 3/10/2014
Brazilian oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA jumped into the global bond market Monday as it continues to borrow heavily to meet its enormous investment plan.
Petrobras, as the firm is known, plans to raise at least $3 billion from the sale of six sets of dollar-denominated bonds, including fixed-rate bonds and floating-rate debt, according to a term sheet provided by a banker. The fixed-rate bonds will mature in three, six, 10 and 30 years, while the floaters will mature in three and six years, the sheet said.
According to another person familiar with the transaction, total demand for the bonds has reached around $12 billion so far.
March 10, 2014
Adam Wernick – Public Radio International, 3/10/2014
Most experts agree that when it comes to protecting the rainforest, no one does it better than the indigenous people who have lived there for centuries. Megaron Ti, a chief of the Kayapo tribe in Brazil, recently travelled to North America — in time to see the snow and ice of New York and Toronto — to seek support for his people.
“I’ve come to explain to the public about how we live,” Megaron says. “About the land — the forest that the Brazilian government has demarcated for us and our struggle to preserve this forest.”
The Kayapo and other indigenous people of South America have battled the forces of progress and modernization for decades. In the early part of the 20th century, the Kayapo faced the onslaught of miners, loggers, rubber tappers, ranchers and missionaries. Today, the threats to the forest and the old traditions are different, but no less dire.
March 10, 2014
Matthew Malinowski – Bloomberg, 3/10/2014
Brazil economists cut their 2014 key interest rate forecast for the second straight week, as 350 basis points in borrowing cost increases since last year threaten to undermine growth.
Brazil’s central bank will lift the benchmark Selic to 11 percent this year, compared with analysts’ estimates of 11.13 percent last week and 11.25 percent two weeks ago, according to the March 7 central bank survey of about 100 economists published today.
President Dilma Rousseff’s administration is combating prospects of faster inflation and slower growth. While the economy expanded more than analysts’ estimates in the fourth quarter, both consumer and industrial confidence remain low. The central bank on Feb. 26 halved the pace of key rate increases as factors including a weaker real pressure consumer prices even as demand remains uneven.
March 10, 2014
Jack Bell – The New York Times, 3/9/2014
The star-crossed stadium in the rain forest was given its first official run-through on Sunday in Manaus, Brazil, with a quarterfinal match in a regional championship.
The Arena da Amazônia was the site of an accident last month in which a worker was killed when a crane collapsed. It is one of 12 venues that will be used for the World Cup, which begins in June. The accident in February once again shined an uncomfortable light on Brazil’s stuttering preparations for the tournament. The stadium was one of six that were not completed by the end of 2013, as had been required by FIFA.
According to The Associated Press, the stadium cost nearly $290 million, about $70 million more than originally expected. Three workers died during construction, including the Portuguese man who was killed while a crane that had been used to construct the stadium roof was being disassembled.