Drought Watch: One Of Brazil’s Biggest Cities Only Has 100 Days Of Water Supply Left

July 30, 2014

Greg Morcroft – International Business Times, 7/29/2014

São Paulo, one of Brazil’s largest cities, has only 100 days of water remaining and government officials cautioned the city needs to begin rationing or face a major crisis. Bloomberg News reported Brazilian federal prosecutors have given the city fathers and its water utility, Sabesp, 10 days to implement crisis measures or face legal action to compel it.

The news agency reported the utility disagrees with the assessment and told Bloomberg, “That measure would penalize customers and may have the opposite effect.” The utility has already succeeded in getting customers to cut water consumption by what it said were policies having the equivalent effect of a rationing plan that would allow water use for 36 hours, followed by a ban on use for the following 72 hours.

According to the report Sabesp in April began offering 20 percent discounts for customers who cut their consumption by at least 20 percent from their 12-month average.

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Cadets offer insight into law enforcement in Brazil

July 30, 2014

Kenny Green – Star Local Media, 7/30/2014

Several cadets from Academia De Policia Militar Do Barro Bronco in Brazil are in Mesquite at Eastfield College’s police academy to learn procedures and techniques from Dallas County law enforcement officials. The cadets are being exposed to a completely different culture in law enforcement than the face back home in São Paulo.

“I have seen the structure there, and it’s very militaristic,” said Michael Horak, Eastfield College police chief.

“We have the same structure as far as ranks,” said Cadet Carlos Piles, who serves as the translator for the group. “Our teachings, ethics, uniforms, salutation and rules have a militaristic code.”

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Brazil’s Unaffordable Homes

July 30, 2014

Vanessa Barbara – The New York Times, 7/30/2014

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — I live in Mandaqui, a district six miles from downtown. The nearest subway station is roughly two miles away, or about 30 minutes by bus, since they’re slow and scarce. It’s not the best place to live if you don’t have a car. Even so, the average price per square foot here recently soared to $250. Real estate in prime areas of the city can now cost as much as $465 per square foot.

In the last six years, housing prices in São Paulo have increased by 208 percent, and the cost of rent has increased 97.5 percent in the metro area. According to the website Numbeo, which compiles user-generated data, a 970-square-foot apartment here costs the equivalent of 16 years of an average family’s total income. By comparison, this cost-to-income ratio is eight in New York, 6.9 in Berlin and only three in Chicago. Someone making the minimum wage in Brazil ($325 a month) can afford to rent only a three-room shack in the crime-ridden Favela Paraisópolis ($280), leaving him practically nothing left over to live on.

Brazil is experiencing a severe housing shortage. According to the Inter-American Development Bank, one in three families lives in inadequate housing. The country has an estimated shortage of 5.8 million units, of which 90 percent is concentrated on lower-income families. According to research by the João Pinheiro Foundation, 442,710 households in São Paulo spend 30 percent or more of their income on rent. These families are in danger of joining 44,699 other households living in precarious conditions and 83,011 in which more than three family members are squeezed into the same bedroom — an overcrowding solution to a dead-end situation.

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Brazil’s Real Falls as Ukraine Turmoil Saps Emerging-Market Bid

July 29, 2014

Paula Sambo and Filipe Pacheco – Bloomberg Businessweek, 7/29/2014

Brazil’s real dropped the most among major Latin American currencies as turmoil in Ukraine dried up demand for emerging-market assets.

The real declined 0.2 percent to 2.2279 per U.S. dollar at 9:42 a.m. in Sao Paulo. Swap rates, a gauge of expectations for interest-rate moves, increased six basis points, or 0.06 percentage point, to 11.33 percent on the contract maturing in January 2017.

Investors sought refuge in the dollar as the European Union and the U.S. prepared new sanctions against Russia while President Vladimir Putin’s administration formulated its response to international pressure over the conflict in Ukraine.

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Plans for minors on the rise in Brazil’s pension industry

July 29, 2014

Ulric Rindebro – BN Americas, 7/28/2014

Demand for savings plans designed for minors are on the rise in Brazil’s private pension plan industry.

These plans are sold as retirement plans but parents who buy them mainly use them to finance their children’s’ higher education, pension plan provider Brasilprev’s intelligence and client administration manager Soraia Fidalgo told BNamericas.

In 1997, Brasilprev was the first company in Brazil to launch a pension plan for minors.

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Brazil’s Longer-Term Swap Rates Rise on 2015 Inflation Outlook

July 28, 2014

Filipe Pacheco and Paula Sambo – Bloomberg, 7/28/2014

Brazil’s longer-term swap rates climbed as economists surveyed by the central bank raised their inflation forecasts for 2015, adding to speculation that policy makers will resume raising borrowing costs next year.

Swap rates on contracts maturing in January 2018 increased one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, to 11.41 percent at 9:52 a.m. in Sao Paulo. The real was little changed at 2.2294 per U.S. dollar.

Economists increased their inflation forecast for 2015 to 6.21 percent from 6.12 percent a week earlier, according to the median of about 100 estimates in a central bank survey published today. President Dilma Rousseff is facing a combination of slower economic growth and above-target inflation as the October election approaches.

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Economy In Gutter, Brazil More Expensive Than Europe

July 28, 2014

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 7/27/2014

Brazil’s economy might be growing near zero, and it’s currency isn’t as strong as it was in the heyday of the U.S. housing bubble of 2008, but that hasn’t stopped the country from becoming more expensive than the entire euro zone. In fact, according to The Economist magazine’s latest edition of the Big Mac index, Brazil’s currency is overvalued, and is third behind mega rich nations like Norway and Switzerland.

Brazil is the most expensive emerging market nation, and the locals are feeling it.

According to the magazine’s Big Mac index, the Brazilian real is overvalued by 5.86% as of July 23, more so than it was in 2009.  The Brazilian real is worth R$2.23. But it used to be a lot stronger. In July of 2008, it hit a strong R$1.55.  Despite a weaker currency, Brazil’s cost of living is on the rise.  For those living there, it’s a cause of frustration.  This is still very much a country where roads flood in the rain in major cities like São Paulo, and World Cup and Olympic quality cities like Rio de Janeiro have a whopping 500,000+ living in squalor in hillside slums.  The views are nice, but the poverty, the crime, the violence and the lackluster government services to those stuck there remain a national embarrassment.

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Temple in Brazil Appeals to a Surge in Evangelicals

July 25, 2014

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 7/24/2014

It occupies an entire block in this teeming megacity: a 10,000-seat rendition of Solomon’s Temple.

Towering in sharp relief against the graffiti-splattered tenements nearby, it beckons with monumental walls of stone imported from Israel and the flags of the dozens of countries where its owner, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, is nourishing an evangelical Christian empire.

A helicopter landing pad will allow Edir Macedo, the 69-year-old media magnate who founded the Universal Church in a Rio de Janeiro funeral home in 1977, to drop in for sermons. The sprawling 11-story complex features other flourishes, too, like an oasis of olive trees similar to the garden of Gethsemane near Jerusalem, and more than 30 columns soaring toward the heavens.

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Datalogic targets Brazil

July 24, 2014

Sherri Buri McDonald – The Register-Guard, 7/24/2014

As part of its global expansion strategy, Datalogic, an Italian tech company with deep roots in Eugene, has opened a factory in Brazil.

The company has spent $2 million to build the 23,680-square-foot plant in the city of Jundiai, in the state of São Paulo. It will churn out bar code readers, mobile computers and other devices, offer technical assistance and maintenance of the equipment, and serve as a demonstration center for new products, company officials said.

It is Datalogic’s first facility in Latin America.

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Batteries and business in Brazil

July 18, 2014

Jessica Orwig – Physics Today, 7/18/2014

When Italian physicist Alessandro Volta was electrocuting frog legs in the 19th century, he was unaware of how vast and significant his subsequent discoveries would be for science and industry. In 1800 Volta designed the world’s first battery, which is not too different from the one that powers your smartphone today. Amy Prieto wants to change that.

Prieto is an associate professor at Colorado State University’s chemistry department. In 2008 she cofounded Prieto Battery. Today’s batteries are too expensive to produce, and they display “low battery” too soon after charging for Prieto’s liking. That is why she and her company are working toward a novel design that is 10 times more powerful, 5 times longer lasting, and less expensive than any battery on the current market.

“We’re trying to build this dream battery with these pretty amazing attributes. But the way that we make it is also pretty unusual,” says Prieto, who is one of many speakers presenting at this year’s Industrial Physics Forum (IPF) Conference on Industrial Physics in Emerging Economies II at the University of Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil.

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