Each Friday, through the Brazil Portal feature “The Week in Review”, the Brazil Institute will highlight Brazil’s news topics in one concise summary.
Economic news featured prominently in Brazilian headlines this week, with a particular emphasis on foreign investment. The evidence indicates that opinions seem to be split on the viability of the market. There is certainly good news; for example, Singapore’s Temasek sovereign-wealth fund and the U.S. biopharma group Quintiles have increased their investments in the country, suggesting that many companies continue to view Brazil’s emerging market as maintaining the high profit-potential projected earlier this year. However, this optimism is tempered by worries that Brazil may have oversold its potential: slipping Brazilian retail sales, growth projections reduced to under 2%, and continuing doubts about the viability of Brazilian stock (such as that of the conglomerates held by magnate Eike Batista) may indicate a less favorable economic climate. Many investors are considering moves to other similar emerging economies with debatably better prospects, such as Mexico.
Regional tensions are still running high in the aftermath of the announcement of Venezuela’s pending incorporation into Mercosur. This was a feat only possible after Paraguay’s suspension from the trading bloc, in light of the ouster that removed President Lugo from power a few weeks ago. The Brazilian press has featured several op-eds debating the controversial* and perhaps even illegal* nature of Venezuela’s new role.
In international news, ex-Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso was honored on Tuesday night at the U.S. Library of Congress with the John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity. Cardoso is the eighth recipient of the $1 million award, which recognizes and celebrates work of the highest quality and greatest impact in areas that advance understanding of the human experience. He is also the first Latin American to win the prestigious award.
*The asterisk denotes an article in Portuguese.