October 20, 2014
Paulo Trevisani – The Wall Street Journal, 10/19/2014
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said Saturday that there was embezzlement at government-controlled oil producer Petróleo Brasileiro SA .
The company, known as Petrobras, has been at the center of a corruption scandal allegedly involving people connected to Mr. Rousseff’s Workers Party, or PT.
“I will do all I can to reimburse the country,” Ms. Rousseff said during a news conference at the presidential residence late in the afternoon. “There was” deviation of public money, she said according to a transcript of the interview published on her official campaign website.
October 17, 2014
Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 10/15/2014
Presidential polls are not to blame for this one. Brazil’s stock market decline is a mix of oil giant Petrobras, and lackluster consumer sales. Though for true followers of the Brazilian stock market, Petrobras is public enemy No. 1.
Brazilian equities were the worst performing of the BRIC markets on Wednesday due to Brazil’s perennial stock market disaster — Petrobras — which fell by 9.06%. The iShares MSCI Brazil (EWZ) exchange traded fund settled 5.11% lower today while the MSCI Emerging Markets settled 1.26% lower.
Petrobras remains a government story, mired in electoral politics and fiscal policies.
October 16, 2014
Joe Leahy – Financial Times, 10/15/2014
Common wisdom has it that Brazilians have become so desensitised to political scandals – so frequent are they on all sides of the political spectrum – that they make little difference in elections.
But there are signs that what could end up being Brazil’s biggest corruption case – the alleged kickbacks from state-owned oil company Petrobras – could be different. Politicians from the Workers’ party-led ruling coalition are accused of skimming 3 per cent off billions of dollars of contracts signed by Petrobras ahead of the election of incumbent president Dilma Rousseff in 2010.
Not only are Brazilians taking more notice of this scandal – one Facebook user complained last week it meant he was paying 3 cents of every dollar to the Workers’ party, or PT, whenever he fills his car with petrol. “Better to ride a bicycle,” he said.
October 15, 2014
Samantha Pearson – The Financial Times, 10/13/2014
Petrobras’s fuel pricing policy threatens to put the brakes on Brazil’s airline industry, the world’s third-biggest domestic market and a key propeller of the country’s growth, industry associations have warned. Brazil now has the second most expensive airline fuel in the world after Malawi in Africa, making it impossible for airlines to reduce ticket prices further as the economy slows, said Eduardo Sanovicz, head of the Brazilian Airlines Association ABEAR.
“This is a fundamental barrier if Brazilian aviation is to increase its number of passengers from the current 111m,” said Mr Sanovicz, adding that fuel represents 40 per cent of Brazilian airlines’ operating costs compared with a global average of just over 30 per cent.
While taxes and currency fluctuations are partly to blame, jet fuel is so expensive in Brazil largely because the state-controlled oil company Petrobras still charged a heavy “import fee” even though more than 75 per cent of the fuel nowadays was refined in Brazil, Mr Sanovicz added.
September 26, 2014
The Economist (print edition), 9/27/2014
To describe the final weeks of Brazil’s presidential campaign as dramatic would be putting it mildly. There was tragedy, when Eduardo Campos, leader and candidate of the centrist Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), perished in an aeroplane crash in mid-August. There were tears: Marina Silva, Mr Campos’s running-mate-turned-candidate, broke down after being criticised by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in whose cabinet she had once served as environment minister but whose protégée and successor, Dilma Rousseff, is seeking a second term. This being Brazil, there was also scandal, as a former executive at Petrobras, the statecontrolled oil firm, alleged that politicians from Ms Rousseff’s left-wing Workers’ Party (PT) and some coalition allies were involved in a kickback scheme there.
The twists and turns have led to lots of head-scratching among pollsters and pundits. With days to go before the first round of voting on October 5th, firm predictions are scarce. Mauro Paulino, boss of Datafolha, a big polling company, says the way the campaign as a whole has unfurled is “incomparable”. And not just with any prior Brazilian election, but with anything that has happened anywhere in the world, at least in living memory, according to José Toledo of Estadão Dados, a data website.
The prediction that commands most confidence is that Ms Rousseff will not secure an outright majority in the first round and that the election will go to a run-off on October 26th. There she will almost certainly face Ms Silva, who in the weeks following Mr Campos’s death has surged past Aécio Neves, the candidate of the centre-right Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB). The latest second-round simulations show Ms Rousseff and Ms Silva running neck and neck.