September 24, 2014
Mario Sergio Lima – Bloomberg, 9/23/2014
Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega defended today the use of the country’s sovereign fund to help meet fiscal targets in a year when Latin America’s biggest economy had its debt rating downgraded.
Brazil announced it will withdraw 3.5 billion reais ($1.45 billion) from the sovereign fund to cover spending. The primary surplus, which excludes interest payments, was 1.22 percent of gross domestic product in the year through July, compared with the 1.9 percent target.
“The sovereign fund is a primary savings account we created in 2008 and is perfectly usable,” Mantega told reporters today in Brasilia. “Nothing is more legitimate than using that fund to cover part of expenses.”
September 8, 2014
Paulo Trevisani – The Wall Street Journal, 9/5/2014
No matter who wins Brazil’s October elections, one thing has become clear: the man who oversaw an economic boom turned bust is likely to depart.
Guido Mantega’s eight-year stretch as Brazilian finance minister is seen ending whether frontrunner Marina Silva, the Socialist candidate, beats President Dilma Rousseff, or not.
Ms. Rousseff, in response to polls showing she would lose a potential second-round runoff to Ms. Silva, said this week that if she was re-elected, she would assemble a new team. Her comments were widely seen as a confirmation that Mr. Mantega, one of the longest-serving finance ministers ever, is on his way out.
September 5, 2014
Caroline Stauffer – Reuters, 9/5/2014
Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff said she would make changes in her cabinet if elected for a second term after a reporter asked her on Thursday if she planned to replace Finance Minister Guido Mantega.
But Rousseff said she would not name her future ministers unless she is re-elected in an apparent jab at opponent Aecio Neves, who has already said former central bankgovernor Arminio Fraga would be his finance minister.
“New government, new team, I have no doubt about that,” she said while campaigning in the northern city of Fortaleza. “There is one thing I don’t do – I don’t appoint ministers… I think that is wrong… I was not (yet) elected.”
September 5, 2014
The Economist (print edition), 9/6/2014
“We are not in a recession,” insisted Guido Mantega, Brazil’s finance minister, on August 29th. According to the most common definition—two consecutive quarters of falling output—he is wrong. Official figures released earlier that day showed that GDP fell by 0.6% between the first and second quarters (an annualised contraction of 2.4%). Output also fell, by 0.2%, in the first three months of the year.
Brazil’s economy has now shrunk in three of the last four quarters. Most analysts think it will not grow at all this year; a year ago they were expecting growth of 3%. In 2015 the economy is likely to expand by only 1%. Not even Mr Mantega can deny that Brazil is going through a rough patch.
The government blames a weak global recovery from the financial crisis of 2008-09 and a surfeit of public holidays during the month-long football World Cup, which concluded in Brazil on July 13th. These were decreed by federal, state and municipal authorities to ease pressure on public transport as hordes of fans descended on host cities. Itaú, a big Brazilian bank, reckons fewer working days account for half the latest fall in GDP. (Critics note that the Copa was meant to be an economic boon, not a curse.) Industrial production picked up in July, with its fewer feriados—but not nearly enough to offset June’s 1.4% decline. Inventories remain uncomfortably high: carmakers’ stocks, for instance, are 50% bigger than usual.
August 29, 2014
Alonso Soto – Reuters, 8/28/2014
Brazil’s finance minister waded into the country’s presidential campaign on Thursday, warning that an opposition victory in the October election could push the economy into recession and undo a decade of social gains under the ruling Workers’ Party.
The comments by Guido Mantega, which the opposition and some analysts criticized as unbecoming of a sitting finance minister, came on the eve of the release of official data that is expected to show that Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, is already in recession.
Brazil’s once high-flying economy has slowed sharply in the last four years under President Dilma Rousseff, complicating her chances for re-election in October. Growth is now at a crawl, inflation is running high, and business confidence has evaporated, discouraging investment.
August 6, 2014
Alonso Soto and Luciana Otoni – Reuters, 8/6/2014
The Brazilian economy should pick up in the second half of the year after a slow start and hit more “reasonable” growth levels in 2015, Finance Minister Guido Mantega told Reuters on Tuesday.
Slowing inflation and an expansion in credit, as well as a recovery in mining and oil output, should help an economy that was dragged down by high interest rates and a string of holidays during the first half of 2014, he said.
“We have a more favourable outlook and see quicker growth in the second half of the year,” Mantega said. “Although 2014 will be a sort of transition year for us and for everyone in the world, we believe that we have the conditions to grow more next year.”
July 31, 2014
Cihan News Agency, 7/31/2014
Brazilian Minister of Finance Guido Mantega has rebutted a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) where it rated Brazil among the emerging economies most vulnerable to external crises. In his remarks on Tuesday (July 29), he said economic indicators for the first half of 2014 show that foreign investors remain interested in the country, in spite of the US Federal Reserve (Fed) tapering its quantitative easing measures. The minister also noted that foreign direct investments – which create jobs in the country – have remained above $60 billion in 12 months for the fourth straight year. Moreover, Mantega said, the Brazilian real appreciated 9.4% in the first semester, and the São Paulo Stock Exchange (BOVESPA) was up 21.25% in the same period.
According to Mantega, the report was prepared by lower echelons of the IMF and repeats the same mistakes of earlier documents disclosed by financial institutions and international organizations that report a “perfect storm” for Brazil’s economy this year and place Brazil among the five weakest emerging countries. “The storm never came, the scenario described by the reports wasn’t fulfilled,” he said.
The minister pointed out that Brazil has the fifth largest international reserves in the world, around $380 billion. The sum exceeds the public and private external debt of $330 billion, enough to see Brazil through for a long time in the event of a shortage in foreign capital.