Brazil’s crop logistics drama

November 7, 2013

Luis Vieira –, 11/06/2013

With Brazilian exports of corn and soybeans expected to continue their strong performance in 2014, last year’s problematic port logistics are reccurring.

Recent data released by Brazil’s Ministry of Development, Industry, and Foreign Trade shows that the South American country exported 3.8 million tons of soybeans in September and 3.44 million tons of corn – both are records for the period. From January to September, soybean exports reached 40.7 million tons, already overtaking the output of 2013 in just nine months.

For the 2013-2014 season, Céleres consultancy has a projection that Brazil will have a soybean area of 74.1 million acres and a corn area of 38.5 million acres (including both the summer and winter crops). Respectively, the growth would be 3.3 million acres and 750,000 acres compared with this year’s crops. Mato Grosso, Goiás, and Maranhão are the states that are likely to get the largest slice of this increase. “Most of the growth is coming with the usage of genetically modified seeds and the price of soy in Chicago. If there is more news about bad weather in the U.S., the corn area can grow even more in Brazil,” says Anderson Galvão, CEO of Céleres consultancy.

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Brazil leader seeks industry investment boost via loans

December 5, 2012

Anthony Boadle – Reuters, 12/05/2012

President Dilma Rousseff announced on Wednesday the extension of a government lending program to boost purchases of capital goods, telling business leaders Brazil must increase industrial investment if it is to restore vigorous economic growth.

The world’s sixth-largest economy grew much less than expected in the third quarter, despite a barrage of tax breaks and other stimulus measures taken by Rousseff this year.

Economists say the once-booming economy grew for a decade by expanding consumption and Brazil must now raise investment levels that are much lower than those of other emerging markets.

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Brazil industry logs first annual growth in a year

December 4, 2012

Asher Levine – Reuters, 12/04/2012

Brazilian industrial output posted its first annual increase in more than a year in October as a tax break on autos helped support a nascent recovery in the country’s beleaguered manufacturing sector.

Output from Brazilian factories and mines expanded 2.3 percent in October from a year earlier, government statistics agency IBGE said on Tuesday, though less than the 2.5 percent rise forecast in a Reuters poll of 33 analysts. Industrial production dropped 3.6 percent on a year-over-year basis in September, IBGE said, revised from a 3.8 percent drop.

“There is a gradual recovery happening,” said Jankiel Santos, chief economist with BES Investimento in Sao Paulo. “Bit by bit we are getting more signals of it and today’s numbers confirm it.”

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Brazilian industry showing signs of recovery

October 2, 2012

Silvio Cascione – Reuters, 10/01/2012

Brazil’s manufacturing sector nearly broke out of its downturn in September, recording its best month since March on strong output and a slower pace of layoffs, a private survey showed on Monday.

At 49.8 in September, the HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index for the Brazilian manufacturing sector was still short of the 50 mark that divides contraction and expansion. However, it was the third straight month the number has moved higher, suggesting the downturn in manufacturing activity is becoming less pronounced.

The HSBC PMI survey is comprised of 11 components. One of them, manufacturing output, showed production expanded in September as factories shrugged off weak demand to focus on launching new products.

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Brazil industry expands at fastest pace in 15 months

October 2, 2012

Reuters, 10/02/2012

Industrial production in Brazil expanded in August at the fastest pace in 15 months thanks to heavy government stimulus, underlining signs of recovery for struggling manufacturers.

Output grew 1.5 percent in August from July, government statistics agency IBGE said on Tuesday, less than the 2.0 percent growth forecast in a Reuters survey but more than every month since May 2011.

Industry has been a weak spot in the Brazilian economy in recent years, prompting President Dilma Rousseff to introduce a string of tax breaks, credit incentives and other measures to support local factories.

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Brazil’s Rousseff to announce power rate reduction-reports

September 6, 2012

Reuters, 09/06/2012

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, concerned over the eroding competitiveness of industry and stubbornly high consumer prices, plans to announce a reduction in electricity rates and terms for the renewal of expiring power distribution licenses, newspaper reports said on Thursday.

Rousseff is expected to unveil cuts on industrial electricity rates of as much as 20 percent when she addresses the nation late on Thursday, newspaper Brasil Econômico said. Consumers are likely to get a 10 percent cut in their electricity bills, Valor Econômico reported, citing people with knowledge of the plans.

A spokeswoman at the presidential palace in Brasilia did not have an immediate comment on the reports.

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Brazil June industrial output edges up, misses forecast

August 1, 2012

Reuters, 08/01/2012

Brazil’s industrial output edged up less than expected in June after three straight months of decline, underlining the persistent challenges facing the country’s lagging manufacturing sector.

Industrial production in Brazil expanded 0.2 percent in June from May, government statistics agency IBGE said on Wednesday, less than the 0.8 percent expansion forecast in a Reuters poll of 17 analysts.

June was the first rebound after three straight months of declining output as manufacturers struggle with high taxes, a shortage of skilled workers and inadequate infrastructure. In May, industrial output fell 1 percent, revised down from 0.9 percent, the IBGE said on Wednesday.

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Can a weaker currency save Brazilian industry

May 10, 2012

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 05/10/2012

Brazil’s real is going the other way. Strengthening since the financial crisis of 2008, it is now in the process of weakening, most of it by design. The local currency has gone from a strong point of around R$1.68 in late February to R$1.975 on Thursday morning.  Currency speculators that I’ve spoken to in Rio de Janeiro think it’s going to 2.20, a place the real hasn’t been since October 2008 when financial Armageddon was upon us.

So far, the real has weakened gradually against the dollar. It’s down around 3% year-to-date. But if it were to fall from the year’s average of R$1.80 to the weaker end of trade floor forecasts at R$2.20, that would be nearly a 20% drop in six months. The government’s Finance Minister, Guido Mantega, wants a weaker real in order to help the country’s heavy industry in particular compete internationally. But a weak real would have little immediate impact on exports. It would also cause purchase power to shrink, driving up the cost of imports as Brazilian companies have to spend more reals to buy more U.S. dollar priced goods.  Of course, some of those goods can be produced in Brazil instead. But not all of them.

“A real at 2.20 is not going to be good for Brazil,” said Heiner Skaliks, a fund manager at the Strategic Latin America Fund (SLATX).

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State, federal support for research

May 8, 2012

Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz – Estadão, 05/02/2012

*The original article published in Portuguese can be found here

Nearly one-third of Brazil’s public-sector investment in research and development comes from its state governments. At a time when we are contending with cutbacks in federal funds for R&D, it seems appropriate to highlight a few relevant facts about the little-noticed but essential contribution that states make to the country’s scientific and technological development.

According to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI), 2010 public-sector expenditure on R&D in Brazil totaled R$23 billion. Of that amount, R$7 billion came from state coffers. Across states, however, the distribution of effort on R&D varies significantly. Sao Paulo’s expenditure alone (R$5 billion) accounts for 72% of the total, followed by Rio de Janeiro with R$489 million and Parana with R$414 million. Next in the ranking are Minas Gerais (R$214 million), Santa Catarina (R$210 million) and Bahia (R$120 million). The remaining 20 states and the Federal District devoted a combined R$541 million to R&D in 2010.

The MCTI divides state R&D expenditure into two types. State monies going to state research foundations (FAPs) and institutes represent 36% of the outlays. The remaining 64% are R&D expenditures for state universities and institutions of higher education, not including funding for pensions, court decisions and other non-research activities.

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Hyundai to begin output at Brazil plant in November

May 8, 2012

Fox Business/Dow Jones Newswires, 05/08/2012

Hyundai Motor Co (HYMLY, 005380.SE) said Tuesday that it will begin commercial production at its new Brazil factory in November.

Hyundai is building a factory with annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles in hopes of overtaking Ford Motor Co. (F) as Brazil’s fourth-largest car seller. Test production will begin in September, Hyundai’s press office said, with commercial production starting in November.

The Financial Times reported earlier Tuesday that production at the plant, located in Piracicaba, about 200 kilometers north of Sao Paulo, would start in September.

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