Brazil’s development bank to target infrastructure and less on corporations

October 21, 2013

MercoPress, 10/21/2013

The National Treasury has a target of phasing out annual capital injections into BNDES “within a few years,” Finance Minister Guido Mantega said.

In addition, both the Treasury and BNDES will put the brakes on lending to states, which might have to tap private-sector and state-run commercial lenders other than BNDES for new financing, he said.

The decision comes after years of criticism of President Dilma Rousseff’s efforts to use BNDES to speed up growth in Latin America’s largest economy. The Treasury has funneled more than 300 billion Reais (138 billion dollars) of taxpayer money into BNDES, a situation that some analysts have said stoked a rapid increase in government debt.

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Brazil’s Odebrecht plans $8.1 billion landmark investment in Mexico

October 2, 2013

Reuters, 10/01/2013

Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht ODBES.UL plans to spend $8.1 billion in Mexico in the next five years in what appears to mark the biggest investment pledge yet from a Brazilian firm in Latin America’s No. 2 economy.

Odebrecht, one of Latin America’s biggest family-owned companies, will invest in petrochemicals, renewable energy, ethanol and sugar production and highway concessions, according to a statement put out by the office of Mexico’s president.

Marcelo Odebrecht, the company’s chief executive, on Tuesday met Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, the statement said.

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Has Brazil blown it?

September 30, 2013

The Economist, 09/29/2013

FOUR years ago this newspaper put on its cover a picture of the statue of Christ the Redeemer ascending like a rocket from Rio de Janeiro’s Corcovado mountain, under the rubric “Brazil takes off”.

The economy, having stabilised under Fernando Henrique Cardoso in the mid-1990s, accelerated under Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the early 2000s. It barely stumbled after the Lehman collapse in 2008 and in 2010 grew by 7.5%, its strongest performance in a quarter-century.

To add to the magic, Brazil was awarded both next year’s football World Cup and the summer 2016 Olympics. On the strength of all that, Lula persuaded voters in the same year to choose as president his technocratic protégée, Dilma Rousseff.

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Brazil delays high-speed train bids for at least a year

August 13, 2013

Leonardo Goy – Reuters, 08/12/2013

Brazil’s government put off bidding for a high-speed train project for at least one year because there was only one confirmed consortium competing for the 38 billion reais ($16.7 billion) deal, Transport Minister César Borges announced on Monday.

Lack of competition led the government to postpone the tender for the bullet train linking Brazil’s two largest cities, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, after Spanish and German groups guaranteed that they will bid if given more time, Borges said at a news conference.

After massive protests against corruption and misuse of public money paralyzed Brazilian cities in June, the government preferred not to open itself to further criticism by awarding the bullet train contract to the one bidder, analysts said.

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Brazil to auction Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte airports concessions

August 12, 2013

MercoPress, 08/12/2013

Presidential chief of staff Gleisi Hoffmann announced the date for the auction to sell concessions to run. Rio’s Galeao airport and Belo Horizonte’s Confins at a Brasilia press conference.

Officials said bidders will have to make a minimum offer of 2.1 billion dollars for the Galeao concession and 450 million for Confins,

In February 2012, 20-year concessions were granted to manage three airports: two in Sao Paulo and one in Brasilia, breaking the monopoly of Infraero, the federal agency that runs more than 70 airports.

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Brazil admits need to improve on stadium delivery

August 9, 2013

Associated Press, 08/09/2013

Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo says Brazil needs to find a way to speed up the completion of the six stadiums still being built for the 2014 World Cup.

Mr Rebelo on Thursday said Brazil learned from the Confederations Cup that it has to do a better job to guarantee the stadiums are finished by the December deadline established by FIFA.

Only two of the six venues needed for the warm-up tournament played earlier this year were completed by the initial deadline set by football’s governing body.

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Brazil’s economic woes show limits of state meddling

August 1, 2013

James M. Roberts – The Washington Times, 07/31/2013

Brazilians are angry. President Dilma Rousseff’s government is spending billions on beautiful new stadiums — and it’s all about image.

And when billions of viewers tune in to the 2014 soccer World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Ms. Rousseff wants them to see what appears to be a First World country. But that’s not what Brazil’s middle class sees when they look out their windows.

What greets the average Brazilian’s eyes is an urban landscape of inadequate and, at times, crumbling infrastructure. Aging and crowded, their roads, airports, bridges and ports often have a decidedly Third World cast. And what makes the sight so irksome is the knowledge that this degradation of facilities continues — despite the fact that they pay high taxes every day in many ways.

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Brazil president offers measure to try to untangle bus traffic

August 1, 2013

Reuters, 07/31/2013

Responding to huge protests last month over the country’s high cost of living and poor public services, President Dilma Rousseff announced Wednesday that the federal government would set aside $1.3 billion to improve bus service in São Paulo, the country’s largest city. Protests there in June over a fare increase set off an outburst of national discontent. The money will finance the creation of 61 miles of new express lanes to speed bus service in the city. “Brazilian cities cannot expect people to spend six hours of their life every day in a bus,” she said. In a related initiative, Ms. Rousseff said $3.6 billion would be spent to drain and clean up eight filthy creeks and to recover springs that feed two reservoirs that supply drinking water to São Paulo.

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Workers at Brazil port end protests; to resume strike Thursday

July 10, 2013

Reuters, 07/10/2013

Dock workers at Brazil‘s key shipping port of Santos, the largest in South America, stopped a strike over port reform early on Wednesday but plan to walk off the job again on Thursday in support of a broader union protest.

Port authorities said Wednesday’s strike prevented the loading of some 13 container ships for a few hours, but mechanized bulk cargo shipments, such as soybeans and corn, were not affected.

The National Stevedores Association in Brasilia said workers at other ports had decided against a July 10 strike and would instead join other industrial unions planning a nationwide walkout on Thursday, July 11.

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World Cup organizers tell Brazil protestors event creates jobs

June 25, 2013

Tariq Panja

Organizers of soccer’s World Cup responded today to street protests by saying the tournament is creating thousands of jobs and “doing plenty of good things” for Brazil, which has spent almost 30 billion reais ($13.5 billion) on infrastructure projects for the 2014 event.

Senior officials from FIFA, soccer’s governing body; the Brazilian government; and local World Cup organizers gathered in Rio de Janeiro to issue data that they say proves hosting sport’s most watched event next year will be a boost for the country and not a burden that diverts public funds.

More than 1 million people have taken to the streets amid complaints that Brazil’s focus on the sporting events has taken funds from education and health-care programs. They are the country’s largest protests since 1992, when Brazilians called for the impeachment of President Fernando Collor.

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