Environmentalist Surges Ahead In Brazilian Presidential Polling

August 28, 2014

Nick Cunningham – Oilprice.com, 8/28/2014

Political change could be coming to Brazil. A new Ibope poll in Brazil shows that an unexpected challenger in the 2014 presidential election would defeat incumbent President Dilma Rousseff in a hypothetical run-off.

Rousseff was once thought to be in a strong position for reelection, but Marina Silva, an ardent environmentalist, has vaulted to the front of the pack.

The daughter of a rubber tapper, Silva had humble beginnings. She grew up poor and was illiterate until she was a teenager. But after years of activism in union politics, Silva was eventually elected senator from her home state of Acre.

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China, Brazil close plane, finance, infrastructure deals

July 18, 2014

Anthony Boadle and Alonso Soto – Reuters, 7/17/2014

China and Brazil sealed their expanding commercial partnership on Thursday with a $5 billion credit line for Brazilian miner Vale and the purchase of 60 passenger jets from Brazilian planemaker Embraer.

In a raft of energy, finance and industry accords signed before presidents Xi Jinping and Dilma Rousseff, the two nations agreed to join forces to build railways to help Brazil cut its infrastructure deficit and feed China’s appetite for commodities.

Trade between China and Brazil soared to $83.3 billion last year from $3.2 billion in 2002, with iron ore, soy and oil making up the bulk of Brazilian exports, making China the South American nation’s biggest trade partner.

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Industrial accidents test Brazil fuel plan

January 7, 2014

Jeff Fick – The Wall Street Journal, 01/06/2014

Brazil’s state-owned energy giant has suffered a series of industrial accidents in recent weeks as it strives to meet the country’s growing fuel needs.

Petróleo Brasileiro’s most recent accident set a fuel refinery ablaze outside Rio de Janeiro on Saturday. No one was injured in that event, but workers have suffered burns and other injuries in incidents at the same refinery and others, union officials say.

Petrobras, as the company is known, has pushed its refineries to their limits, union officials and industry experts say, in an effort to reduce expensive fuel imports that have eroded the company’s profits and Brazil’s trade surplus in recent years.

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Brazil’s oil euphoria hits reality hard

January 7, 2014

Juan Forero – The Washington Post, 01/06/2014

When fields said to hold billions of barrels of oil were discovered off the coast here, exuberant government officials said the deep-sea prize would turn Brazil into a major energy player.

More than six years later, the outlook for Brazil’s oil industry, much like the Brazilian economy itself, is more sobering. Oil production is stagnant, the state-controlled oil company, Petrobras, is hobbled by debt, and foreign oil companies are wary of investing here.

“It’s funny, a few years ago, everybody loved Brazil,” said Roger Tissot, a longtime consultant on Latin American energy. “And now it seems the love is gone.”

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Record Petrobras oil find brings cost concerns: corporate Brazil

June 6, 2013

Peter Millard – Bloomberg Businessweek, 06/06/2013

Investors in Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR), the world’s most indebted oil company, aren’t celebrating Brazil’s biggest-ever crude discovery.

Since regulators doubled estimates for the Libra field to as much as 12 billion barrels on May 23, the state-run company’sshares (PBR) fell 5.3 percent in New York, the worst performance among 15 peers tracked by Bloomberg. The new estimates make the oil prospect Brazil’s largest as the country prepares to bring in partners to start production.

For Petrobras, more oil means more investments and debt for a company that already has the world’s second-biggest spending plan and is stretched for staff and equipment. The Rio de Janeiro-based producer will pay a multi-billion-dollar signing bonus for Libra at a time it sacrifices revenue from fuel sales as part of a government policy to curb inflation. Petrobras has sold imported gasoline and diesel at a loss since late 2010.

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Wasn’t a weaker currency supposed to help Brazil?

June 4, 2013

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 06/03/2013

When the Brazilian real was strengthening like gangbusters against the dollar, all the way to R$1.55 back in July of 2008, the government both loved it and hated it.

They loved it because it meant the world loved Brazil and Brazil, with its nagging (and misplaced) inferiority complex, was mighty proud of its strong currency.  Fast forward to the Lehman Brothersand pending fall out in late 2008-09 and the strong currency became a curse. It became part of the “currency war”, a term made quite popular over the last two years by Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega.

The Fed and European Central Bank were weakening their currencies.  Investors were looking for yield were finding it in places like Brazil. Money poured in. The real kept gaining on the dollar and euro.  Mantega and big businesses complained.  They couldn’t be competitive at R$1.70. They needed R$2.00 to $1, everyone was told.

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Brazil posts smallest May trade surplus in 11 years

June 3, 2013

Reuters, 06/03/2013

Brazil’s trade surplus shrank to $760 million in May, down 74 percent from a year ago and the smallest surplus for that month in 11 years, Trade Ministry data showed on Monday.

The result was far below market expectations of a $1.8 billion surplus, according to the median forecast of 16 analysts surveyed by Reuters.

A fall in the prices of key commodities such as soy and crude oil have hampered Brazilian exports while the country’s imports are booming.

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