Brazil World Cup host city police back to work bu number of slaying people climbs to 39

April 22, 2014

Merco Press News, 4/22/2014

Union and official sources said officers were back at work after last week’s strike, which was marked by looting, robberies and the slaying of at least 39 people, according to official numbers.

But local newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported on Sunday that an extra 16 homicides took place during the night from Friday to Saturday and then three more on Sunday, raising the death toll related to the police strike to 58 people and raising security concerns ahead of the soccer World Cup.

Military police from the state of Bahia went on strike a week ago to demand pay raises and a “new model to manage public security.” The police force eventually lifted the measure on Thursday after a meeting between union leaders and state authorities, but the two-day strike and the violence that followed sparked concerns as Brazil prepares to host the World Cup in less than two months.

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Brazil and Argentina clash over auto-export restrictions: top level mission heads for Buenos Aires

April 22, 2014

Merco Press News, 4/22/2014

According to the president of the Automobile Manufacturers Association from Brazil, Anfavea, Luiz Moan, President Dilma Rousseff instructed Minister of Development, industry and foreign trade Mauro Borges to organize a round of urgent formal talks with Argentina to discuss the issue.

“During the meeting with President Rousseff we explained that Argentine measures in the first quarter of 2014 have meant a drastic drop of 32% in automobile exports to Argentina, which is a great blow for the industry” said Moan who added he spent three hours talking about the issue with the Brazilian head of state.

Moan also recalled that Brazil and Argentina signed a memorandum of understanding last March to try and generate financial mechanisms to promote bilateral trade.

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Brazil’s foreign policy stance leaves it in wings on global stage

April 21, 2014

Joe Leahy – The Financial Times, 4/20/2014

This month, Brazil marks a particularly grim moment in its history. Fifty years ago, the country’s military took power in a coup that ushered in two decades of brutal dictatorship.

President Dilma Rousseff, who as a young leftist guerrilla fighting the generals was jailed and tortured, marked the occasion with a speech at Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão airport earlier this month.

Shedding a quiet tear, she cited a song by the bossa nova artist Tom Jobim, “Samba do Avião”, that recalls the emotions of a Brazilian landing in Rio, saying the lyrics were about exiles returning home with the end of the military regime.

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World Cup to kick up prices in inflation-weary Brazil

April 21, 2014

Alonso Soto – Reuters, 4/21/2014

As if worrying about unfinished stadiums and overcrowded airports wasn’t enough, the upcoming football World Cup will give Brazilian policymakers another headache: an inflation spike.

The arrival of roughly 600,000 foreign tourists for the month-long tournament that starts in mid-June will likely cause substantial increases in the prices of airline tickets, restaurant meals and hotel rooms.

Those three areas account for about a tenth of the weighting of Brazil’s benchmark IPCA consumer price gauge. That could spell trouble for President Dilma Rousseff as the inflation rate is already at 6.19 percent.

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Brazil’s Campos targets taxes, Petrobras to boost economy

April 17, 2014

Brian Winter & Jeferson Ribeiro – Reuters, 4/17/2014

Eduardo Campos, the centrist former state governor running third in Brazil‘s presidential race, plans to lower the tax burden and set a formula to automatically raise fuel prices at state-run oil company Petrobras if he wins the October election.

In a wide-ranging interview, Campos defended those and other reforms championed by Brazil’s business community, which has largely soured on left-leaning President Dilma Rousseff after three-plus years of slow economic growth.

Recent polls show Rousseff with a clear lead as she seeks a second term. She has around 40 percent support thanks to strong backing from poorer Brazilians who are happy with government welfare programs and unemployment still at record lows.

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Brazil’s largest city may ration water this year, utility says

April 9, 2014

Paulo Whitaker – Reuters, 4/9/2014

Sao Paulo may have to ration water this year if reservoir levels are not replenished, Brazil’s largest water and sewage utility said, an increasing possibility as the southeast region heads into its dry season.

Worries of a water shortage in the metropolis of some 20 million that will host the soccer World Cup opening match on June 12 have increased amid dry weather this week, and the city’s main source of water, the Cantareira reservoir, was at just 12.7 percent of its capacity as of Wednesday.

Economists worry that water rationing or shortages could take a toll on Brazil’s fragileeconomy, which is expected to grow just 2 percent this year, and a shortage in Brazil’sbusiness hub would add to the challenges facing President Dilma Rousseff, who is expected to be re-elected in October.

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Brazil election jitters may hit investment in 2014

April 9, 2014

Alonso Soto & Luciana Otoni – Reuters, 4/8/2014

Brazil’s presidential vote will likely delay some investment decisions this year but spending on infrastructure is expected to remain strong, a senior government official told Reuters on Tuesday.

Although President Dilma Rousseff is the favorite to win the October 5 general election, many investors could withhold funds until the next government outlines its plans for the following four years, which could hamper the country’s already slow economic growth.

“It is obvious that businesses will delay some investments until after the election to have more clarity,” said the official, who asked not to be named because he is not allowed to speak publicly.

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They razed paradise and put up a soybean lot

April 8, 2014

Lucy Jordan – Global Post, 4/7/2014

 It might not look like much, but this little green bean is both villain and hero in Brazil’s Cinderella story.

Soybeans helped turn this South American nation from a country of peasants into the world’s seventh-largest economy. They’re also blamed for the destruction of vast swathes of rain forest, causing habitat loss and bloody land conflicts.

Brazil predicted this year it was going to out-bean world soy leader the United States. A nasty drought may have put the kibosh on that, but this country’s output is still expected to reach some 94 million tons, coming up close behind the US’s 99 million tons.

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Brazil economists see faster inflation and slower growth in 2014

April 7, 2014

Matthew Malinowski – Bloomberg, 4/7/2014

Brazil economists raised their 2014 inflation forecast for the fifth straight week and cut their growth estimates as a food price shock curbs purchasing power in the world’s second-largest emerging market.

Brazil’s inflation this year will accelerate to 6.35 percent, compared with the previous week’s forecast of 6.30 percent, according to the April 4 central bank survey of about 100 analysts published today. Analysts also cut their 2014 growth estimates to 1.63 percent from 1.69 percent a week ago.

President Dilma Rousseff’s administration is struggling to spur growth amid above-target inflation. Brazil’s central bank last week lifted the key rate for the ninth straight time after a drought drove up food prices. Policy makers in an accompanying statement signaled they will observe economic progress before deciding on the future path of monetary policy.

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