Economic Affairs Dominate Brazil’s Latest Presidential Debate

October 20, 2014

TeleSUR, 10/20/2014

Candidates Dilma Rousseff and Aecio Neves held their third televised presidential debate late on Sunday, a week before the second round run off election. Both candidates avoided personal attacks and addressed key issues on the economy.

​One week before Brazil’s presidential election run-off, current President and candidate Dilma Rousseff held a televised debate with her rival right-wing candidate Aecio Neves, late on Sunday. Both candidates centred the discussion on inflation, unemployment, and the economy in general.

Rousseff attacked Neves for his plans to appoint, a former president of the Central Bank, Arminio Fraga, as Finance Minister. Fraga headed the Central Bank the last time Neve’s Social Democratic Party was last in power, headed by Fernando Cardoso. Dilma reminded Neves that Fraga had been partly responsible for the high inflation levels during that government.

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Brazil’s Rousseff Admits There Was Wrongdoing at Petrobras

October 20, 2014

Paulo Trevisani – The Wall Street Journal, 10/19/2014

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said Saturday that there was embezzlement at government-controlled oil producer Petróleo Brasileiro SA .

The company, known as Petrobras, has been at the center of a corruption scandal allegedly involving people connected to Mr. Rousseff’s Workers Party, or PT.

“I will do all I can to reimburse the country,” Ms. Rousseff said during a news conference at the presidential residence late in the afternoon. “There was” deviation of public money, she said according to a transcript of the interview published on her official campaign website.

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Brazil’s markets track election polls

October 20, 2014

Joseph Leahy – Financial Times, 10/20/2014

When Frederico Perin looks at the Brazilian stock market these days, he is not studying company fundamentals or even the trading charts very much. For the founder of language website Idioma Fácil and thousands of other day traders and retail investors like him, the perceived fortunes of the candidates in Brazil’s 2014 presidential election next Sunday are more important for the markets.

Every surge in the polls by Dilma Rousseff, the incumbent president, who is unpopular with investors for her perceived economic interventionism, weakens stocks and the currency. Every gain for Aécio Neves, the pro-business opposition candidate, has the inverse effect.

Ms Rousseff won the first round of the election with 42 per cent compared with 34 per cent for Mr Neves but they are now neck-and-neck in the polls.

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Petrobras scandal adds fuel to Brazil’s fiery election campaign

October 16, 2014

Joe Leahy – Financial Times, 10/15/2014

Common wisdom has it that Brazilians have become so desensitised to political scandals – so frequent are they on all sides of the political spectrum – that they make little difference in elections.

But there are signs that what could end up being Brazil’s biggest corruption case – the alleged kickbacks from state-owned oil company Petrobras – could be different. Politicians from the Workers’ party-led ruling coalition are accused of skimming 3 per cent off billions of dollars of contracts signed by Petrobras ahead of the election of incumbent president Dilma Rousseff in 2010.

Not only are Brazilians taking more notice of this scandal – one Facebook user complained last week it meant he was paying 3 cents of every dollar to the Workers’ party, or PT, whenever he fills his car with petrol. “Better to ride a bicycle,” he said.

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Neves would return to basics to fix Brazilian economy: adviser

October 16, 2014

Alonso Soto and Jefferson Ribeiro – Reuters, 10/15/2014

Aecio Neves would scrap a “failed” economic model and restore the pillars of Brazil’s economy to overcome slow growth and high inflation if he wins the presidency this month, the candidate’s pick for finance minister told Reuters on Wednesday.

Neves, a centrist who has promised to rescue Brazil from recession, is running neck-and-neck with leftist President Dilma Rousseff ahead of the Oct. 26 run-off vote in the tightest race in two decades.

Sluggish growth and high inflation have been the focus of a combative campaign that pits two candidates with opposing views on how to fix the ills of the world’s seventh largest economy. Arminio Fraga, a former central bank chief, said the senator would restore the so-called “tripod” of economic policies based on fiscal austerity, inflation targeting and a free floating exchange rate that gave Brazil stability two decades ago.

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Brazil: The ‘El Dorado’ for international migrants

October 14, 2014

Wyre Davis – BBC, 10/14/2014

The jungle state of Acre is a long way from anywhere. Tucked into the north-western corner of Brazil, it is closer to the big towns of eastern Bolivia and southern Peru than it is to the industrial heartland of southern Brazil. Yet it is through here that many migrants looking for a better life or escaping persecution in their own countries choose to enter Brazil.

On the edge of town, where the paved road runs out and where the jungle meets the last few buildings, several times a day small convoys of mini-vans come down the track and people get out.

Like new arrivals anywhere, they look slightly bewildered, trying to get an immediate bearing on their surroundings. But they have little need to worry.

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Brazil Drought Boosts Coffee Prices, Threatens Sugar Production

October 14, 2014

Brianna Lee – International Business Times, 10/13/2014

A deepening drought crisis across Brazil is hitting two of the country’s largest exports as coffee prices surged to their highest level in two years and sugar production is headed for a steep decline. The drought affecting Brazil this year is the worst the country has faced in decades, triggering alarm for cities like Sao Paulo, which has instituted emergency measures to cope with a water supply crisis.

The price of Arabica coffee, of which Brazil is the world’s top supplier, soared to a two-year high last week as meteorologists predicted low prospects for rainfall in Brazil’s coffee-producing regions for the rest of October and November.

Brazil joins other Central American countries dealing with coffee crop woes as El Salvador, Honduras, Panama and Guatemala have all dealt not only with drought but also coffee rust, a fungus that hit crops and resulted in the loss of more than $1 billion since 2011. Meanwhile, however, Colombian coffee seems to be taking advantage of the situation. Colombia’s coffee output looks set to reach a 20-year high this year.

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