Countdown begins for Brazil elections

September 18, 2014

CCTV America, 09/17/2014

It’s down to the wire in next month’s presidential election in Brazil. Incumbent Dilma Rousseff is battling her main rival Marina Silva. For the third time, the candidates appeared in a televised debate. As CCTV America’s Paulo Cabral reports from Sao Paulo, they know the slightest misstep could make a huge difference in what’s expected to be a close election.

The third televised debate was organized by Brazil’s Catholic Church. Clergymen and journalists from religious media asked the questions. And while the questioners were different, the main issues were not. As they did in the previous debates, the candidates talked about health, poverty, the economy and political reform.

President Dilma Rousseff stayed on message,focusing on her government’s accomplishments. Her main challenger is socialist candidate Marina Silva. Polls show the two women will likely square off in second round runoff in a race that’s too close to call.

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Brazil’s largest company, Petrobras, accused of political kickbacks

September 18, 2014

Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 09/17/2014

The brutalist headquarters of South America’s biggest company, Petrobras, offers a harsh riposte to those who try to romanticise Brazil as a land of golden beaches and endless forest. This week, the concrete edifice in central Rio de Janeiro was the focus of a pro-oil rally by thousands of petrochemical workers amid a presidential election debate dominated by how to manage the nation’s vast fossil fuel reserves.

It is a question that has opened up the biggest gap between President Dilma Rousseff, an old industry champion of the Workers Party, and her main challenger Marina Silva, a former environment minister who has pledged to shift priorities towards alternatives energies like wind, solar and ethanol.

This is more than just a Brazilian rerun of George Bush and Big Oil versus Al Gore and climate concern, because state-run Petrobras is no ordinary company and – with the company also mired in a massive corruption scandal – this is no ordinary time.

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Brazil’s inflation to pierce target ceiling in mid-September

September 17, 2014

Silvio Cascione and W Simon – Reuters, 09/16/2014

Brazil’s annual inflation rate probably pierced the government’s target ceiling in mid-September as airfares rose and food prices slowed their decline, according to analysts surveyed in a Reuters poll published on Tuesday.

Consumer prices BRIPCY=ECI are seen up 6.57 percent in the 12 months to mid-September, slightly above the 6.5 percent ceiling of the official target range, according to the median of 23 forecasts in the survey.

In the month to mid-September, consumer prices BRIPCA=ECI probably rose 0.35 percent, up from a 0.14 percent gain in the month to mid-August, according to the median of 28 forecasts. The inflation data is due to release on Friday at 9 a.m. (8 a.m. EDT.)

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Coffee experts fear for Brazil harvest

September 17, 2014

Emiko Terazono – Financial Times, 09/07/2014

Divining the health of branches, floral buds and roots of coffee trees in Brazil has become key to millions of dollars being made or lost after a devastating drought hit the country at the start of the year. Recent discussions among roasters, analysts and hedge fund managers have focused on coffee agronomy, says Keith Flury, head of research at Volcafe, the coffee division of commodities traders ED & F Man.

“Given the unprecedented drought, industry and trade have had to increase knowledge about moisture deficits and the impacts on plants,” he says.

Brazil is the largest coffee producer in the world, accounting for about 35 per cent of all output. In the past, the main weather problems for the country’s coffee growers have been frosts – few farmers and traders have had to deal with the consequences of heat and dryness.

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Brazil announces new tax breaks for business

September 16, 2014

EFE – Fox News Latino, 09/15/2014

Finance Minister Guido Mantega presented here Monday a package of tax measures aimed at stimulating Brazil’s economy less than a month ahead of the presidential election.

“We want to make Brazilian industry more competitive and reduce juridical insecurity,” he said after meeting in Sao Paulo with representatives of the powerful CNI business confederation.

The changes include extending to all industries a reduction in the rate of tax on overseas profits from 34 percent to 26 percent. Until now, that benefit has been available only to firms in construction, services, food processing and the beverage sector.

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Silva Aide Outlines Plan to Lure More Investors to Brazil

September 15, 2014

Presidential candidate Marina Silva wants to make Brazil alluring to investors again by improving public finances and giving the central bank more independence, her campaign coordinators said Monday.

Mauricio Rands, one of Ms. Silva’s main economic advisers, said the candidate will adopt “rigorous” fiscal policy and refrain from “putting makeup on public finances.” Critics accuse current President Dilma Rousseff’s administration of using questionable accounting procedures and one-off revenue sources, such as a tax amnesty program last year, to meet its fiscal targets.

Speaking at an event at the U.S.-Brazil Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Rands also highlighted Ms. Silva’s proposal to pass a law creating an independent central bank. The credibility of the Central Bank of Brazil, which lacks the institutional autonomy that most developed countries enjoy, has been questioned by some economists in recent years for letting inflation run too high and for intervening in the currency market.

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Brazil’s Batista Faces Criminal Charges

September 15, 2014

Luciana Magalhaes – The Wall Street Journal, 09/13/2014

When Brazil’s best-known businessman was hit with criminal charges over the weekend involving billions of dollars in soured deals, he didn’t appear to miss a beat. Instead, Eike Batista was roaming the world scouting for business opportunities.

“Yesterday he was in Qatar,” said one of Mr. Batista’s lawyers, Sergio Bermudes, in a telephone interview Sunday. “It was a business trip.” The attorney said Mr. Batista had also planned to go to South Korea and would return to Brazil probably by Friday.

When the entrepreneur lands, he will be facing one of the biggest challenges of his life. Prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro last week charged Mr. Batista with financial crimes and requested the freezing of 1.5 billion Brazilian reais ($641 million) in assets belonging to the businessman and people close to him, according to documents posted on the public prosecutor’s website on Saturday.

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