Brazil pledges $18.5 bn cuts in effort to woo investors

February 21, 2014

Samantha Pearson – The Financial Times, 2/20/2014

Brazil has promised to cut $18.5bn in public spending, as a former star of emerging markets struggles to win back investors’ trust.

After cancelling his trip to the Group of 20 meeting in Australia this weekend, in order to finalise the country’s fiscal policy, Guido Mantega, Brazil’s finance minister, announced a new primary surplus goal of 1.9 per cent on Thursday.

To meet this target, the government will have to slash R$44bn ($18.5bn) from the budget planned for this year, relying heavily on cuts to discretionary spending in Congress.

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Brazil’s Mantega cancels G20 trip to focus on fiscal goals

February 19, 2014

Reuters, 2/18/2014

Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega canceled his trip to the Group of 20 meeting in Australia this week to hammer out the final details of Brazil’s key fiscal goal for the year, a government official told Reuters on Tuesday.

President Dilma Rousseff’s government is expected to announce this week its 2014 primary budget surplus goal, a gauge of its fiscal discipline that is key to efforts to recover credibility in its economic policies.

The primary surplus is the excess revenue before the payment of interest on debt.

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Brazil’s “currency war” era is over, but its problems may be just beginning

August 9, 2013

Tim Fernholz – Quartz, 08/09/2013

It’s a financial lesson in being careful what you wish for.

Brazil’s finance minister Guido Mantega declared the existence of a “currency war” in 2010, as wealthy countries used stimulus money to lower interest rates and escape the global recession, sending yield-seeking investors to emerging markets like Brazil. These capital flows pushed up the Brazilian rial, making the country’s export-driven economy less competitive.

The “currency war” story was always over-rated; global demand was ultimately more important, and emerging markets exporters found various ways to protect their currencies. In February, Mantega said his country had “neutralized” the currency war, stabilizing its currency at roughly 2 reals per dollar. With the US Federal Reserve signaling a willingness to slow the bond-buying program that offended Mantega so much, you might imagine he’s taking a small victory lap.

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Food price drop provides relief in Brazil inflation fight

August 7, 2013

Joshua Goodman – Bloomberg, 08/07/2013

The first decline in food prices (BZPIIPCM) in two years provided temporary assistance to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s efforts to tame inflation being pressured by the biggest currency slide among emerging markets.

Prices as measured by the benchmark IPCA index rose 0.03 percent in July, in line with analysts surveyed by Bloomberg whose median forecast was for prices to remain unchanged. Cheaper food costs, as well as declines for transportation and clothing, lowered 12-month inflation, which had exceeded the 6.5 percent upper limit of the government’s target range, to 6.27 percent.

Finance Minister Guido Mantega celebrated today’s reading, saying it shows that inflation remains under control in the world’s second-biggest emerging market. Banco Merill Lynch SA forecast monthly inflation will rebound as a rallying dollar puts pressure on companies to raise prices even as policy makers have embarked on the biggest cycle of interest rate increases in the Group of 20.

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Brazil Finance Minister Mantega: inflation control a priority

February 26, 2013

Paulo Trevisani & Paulo Winterstein – Fox Business, 02/26/2013

Brazil Finance Minister Guido Mantega said Tuesday that inflation control is a  priority and so despite a slowdown in inflation the government won’t be  complacent in monitoring prices.

“Inflation control is a priority . . . so we will never relax with inflation  control,” Mr. Mantega said during a presentation to investors in New York.

“Inflation is slowing down but we will not be lax,” he said, citing the IPC  consumer price index, which slowed yet again during the third week of  February.

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