Brazil Has Lost the World Cup

June 25, 2014

Felipe Machado – Fair Observer, 6/24/2014

Brazil has failed to improve its public services and invest appropriately in infrastructure.

I confess that I didn’t want to write this, but the circumstances and some personal angst force me to do so. Seeing all the buzz surrounding the FIFA World Cup as Brazil head into the last 16, I couldn’t help but remember the finals in South Africa in 2010, an event I had the pleasure to cover.

I went to several games, traveled around the country and saw much of the new infrastructure. Despite many problems, I came to realize that South Africa understood the importance of hosting a mega sports event and took the opportunity in several areas with enough professionalism. Was there corruption? Of course. But South Africa, famous in recent history for being the birthplace of apartheid and the country of Nelson Mandela, became the first African nation to hold the World Cup. And that slightly improved their position amid international public opinion.

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Does Brazil deserve its ‘B’ for BRICS

June 3, 2013

Anthony Pereira – CNN, 06/03/2013

When former Goldman Sach’s economist Jim O’Neill first went to Brazil after coining the acronym BRIC, someone asked him whether he had included the “B” just to make the name sound good.

Such skepticism is becoming common again, as investors compare the projected rate of growth in Brazil this year — just 3% — to that in China and India, around 8% and 6% respectively.

So does Brazil still deserve to be seen as an economic powerhouse?

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Biden praises Brazil in speech, calls country ‘developed’

May 30, 2013

Taylor Barnes – The Miami Herald, 05/29/2013

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden praised Brazil’s “vibrancy and inclusive democracy” and strides made in social and economic development in a half-hour speech Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro.

“You can no longer claim ‘We are a developing nation.’ You have developed,” Biden said to a crowd that included Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor Eduardo Paes and local business leaders in a warehouse along the city’s bustling port zone. “What goes with that is worldwide responsibility to speak, to speak out.”

Biden’s speech touched on issues ranging from trade, potential cooperation in Brazil’s energy sector, educational exchanges and Brazil’s rising international prominence.

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Brazil airport capacity limits competition between airlines

May 28, 2013

Dow Jones Newswires/Fox Business, 05/27/2013

Without major investments in Brazil’s air-travel capacity over the next two years, competition between airlines at the country’s eight largest airports will be near impossible, a member of Brazil’s antitrust regulator, Cade, said Monday.

Brazil’s two main domestic airports–Congonhas airport in Sao Paulo and Santos Dumont airport in Rio de Janeiro–already are working so close to maximum capacity that they are effectively closed to any new airline starting operations there, Cade’s Ricardo Ruiz said during a presentation in Sao Paulo.

Mr. Ruiz, who was in charge of reviewing the 2011 takeover of Brazilian airline Webjet by bigger rival Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes (GOLL4.BR, GOL), said that at the time of his review of the acquisition the two airports didn’t have enough take-off and landing times available to allow for a new entrant that could take the place of Webjet.

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Brazil still a land of opportunity for some

May 28, 2013

Brian Winters – Reuters, 05/24/2013

Just two years ago, Brazil was still hailed as “The Near China” – an economy that offered East Asia-style 7-percent growth rates in a seductive, sun-kissed package that was closer to home for western investors.

Today, the thrill is gone.

Economic growth limped in at less than 1 percent last year, 2013 is looking pretty mediocre, and words like “facade” and “bubble” are being used to describe Brazil by some in the international press.

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Brazil’s Gol to increase flights at expanding Viracopos airport

May 24, 2013

Dow Jones Newswires/Fox Business, 05/24/2013

Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes (GOLL4.BR, GOL) said Friday it is seeking to double the number of flights it operates out of Viracopos airport, the privately-controlled airport currently undergoing a sizable expansion.

Gol, Brazil’s second-biggest airline by market share, said in a regulatory filing it is seeking regulatory approval to operate six more flights out of Viracopos airport, located in the city of Campinas about 100 kilometers north of Sao Paulo.

Viracopos was handed over to private operators last year as part of the Brazilian government’s move to increase airport investment, especially ahead of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. The airport, which currently serves as a hub for regional carrier Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras, could become Brazil’s biggest airport in about two decades if all the expansions proposed by the government ahead of the handover are carried out.

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Economics lessons from China and Brazil can teach each other

May 24, 2013

Katy Barnato – CNBC, 05/23/2013

They may both be “BRICs“, but China and Brazil face opposite problems and should take tips from each other, according to a report by Capital Economics published on Thursday.

“Brazil in essence needs to become more like China, with its investment growth, and China needs to learn from Brazil in how to support consumer spending,” said Capital Economics’ chief emerging markets economist, Neil Shearing, in a pan-EM report.

Growth has slowed in both the EM giants, as the impact of euro zone woes and a sluggish U.S. economy is felt in countries with previously robust economies. However, Shearing said that Brazil’s and China’s difficulties were largely rooted in country-specific, but contrasting, problems.

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The view toward closer U.S.-Brazil Relations

May 23, 2013

Julia E. Sweig – Council of Foreign Relations, 05/22/2013

Vice President Joe Biden will visit Brazil, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago next week. Don’t assume this American vice president is merely ceremonial: he has a significant domestic portfolio including immigration, guns, and the budget. Nor is his visit one of those bloated good will trips meant to dole out patronage or shore up support for some American foreign venture. Rather, it seems the Obama administration has decided to try and seize a huge, and to date largely missed opportunity related to jobs, energy, and prosperity in Latin America.

Why the sudden awakening? Immigration reform, the President’s top legislative priority this year, and a political must for both parties, has alerted the White House to the potential foreign policy benefit in Latin America, and not just Mexico, of solving a major domestic problem. In fact, the White House and the American public’s disposition to deal with once untouchable domestic politics around immigration, guns, energy, marijuana legalization, and maybe even Cuba, open the door for potential convergence with Latin America. And provide a chance to get beyond the usual ideological battles that too often sap diplomatic energy and patience.

Biden arrives in Brazil five months before President Rousseff’s state visit to the United States and ten years since President Bush and President Lula convened their cabinets for a joint ministerial meeting, their recognition of the strategic potential for the two democracies and their economies. Since then, dozens, if not hundreds, of ministerial and sub-ministerial meetings have followed. And we have stitched together dozens of inter-governmental dialogues, initiatives, defense, business, scientific, and educational exchanges. Yet there is still something missing between the two powers—call it a lack of ambition.

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Despite stumbles, a promising path for start-ups in Brazil

May 22, 2013

Vinod Sreeharsha – The New York Times, 05/21/2013

Brazil’s Internet start-ups were once the darlings of emerging markets, attracting venture capitalists from around the world. But after two-plus years of growth, the sector is facing tougher times.

Numerous young companies, even those with prominent investors, are struggling to show sustainable profitability despite early rapid growth in revenue. A case in point: Shoes4You, an e-commerce site selling designer footwear, decided to close down last month, despite being backed by the prominent United States investment firms Redpoint Ventures, Accel Partners and Flybridge Capital Partners.

Many in the industry consider its failure a harbinger of things to come. “I expect a lot of shut-downs, and that a lot of companies will be firing people,” said one of the site’s backers, Fabrice Grinda, a prominent French angel investor.

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Brazil’s Petrobras not facing cash flow difficulties – president

May 22, 2013

Fox Business/Dow Jones Newswires, 05/22/2013

Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras (PBR, PETR4.BR) remains well financed and isn’t facing cash flow difficulties as suggested by some market rumors, its president said Wednesday.

Responding to questions from lawmakers on a Brazilian congressional committee, Petrobras President Graca Foster said company initiatives to raise cash didn’t indicate it was undergoing problems.

“Petrobras has a cash reserve of $20 billion,” she said. “This information isn’t correct.”

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