Brazil’s Retail Sales Unexpectedly Drop as Economy Sputters

September 11, 2014

David Biller – Bloomberg, 09/11/2014

Brazil’s retail sales surprised analysts by contracting in July, as the central bank signals it will hold interest rates at the highest level since early 2012. Swap rates fell.

Sales declined 1.1 percent after a 0.7 percent increase in June, the national statistics agency said today in Rio de Janeiro. That was the biggest drop since October 2008 and below all estimates from 34 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, whose median forecast was for a 0.5 percent increase.

Brazil’s economy slipped into recession in the second quarter as fast inflation erodes consumer and business confidence. Moody’s Investors Service cut the nation’s credit rating outlook this week, citing “the absence of any signs of a recovery.” With presidential elections less than a month off, economic management has become central to the campaign.

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Brazil begins recovery from World Cup debacle

September 4, 2014

Craig Davis – Sun Sentinel, 09/03/2014

Just say the score, nothing more. 7-1.

It’s enough to send a chill through the bruised psyche of Brazil all over again. It has been speculated that repercussions of the national team’s stunning loss to Germany by that incomprehensible score in the recent World Cup on home soil could even cost Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff the upcoming election and send the economy into a tailspin.

That’s why Friday’s friendly between Brazil and Colombia at Sun Life Stadium is much more than a typical international exhibition. It is the first chance for Brazil to begin the healing process.

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Brazil’s Post-World Cup Tourism Push Calls for More of Everything

September 3, 2014

Diane Brady – Bloomberg Businessweek, 09/03/2014

It’s hard to know whether to envy or sympathize with Brazil’s tourism minister, Vinícius Lages. While the summer’s World Cup brought more than 1 million foreign visitors and about $7.5 billion in revenue, it didn’t avert an economic slowdown or highlight much beyond soccer. With President Dilma Rousseff facing fierce competition from Marina Silva in October’s national elections, it’s not clear that Lages will get much chance to make his mark.

This hasn’t stopped him from crafting a plan to recast Brazil’s tourism brand. His goal isn’t just to play off the World Cup in building buzz for the Rio Olympics in 2016. Lages wants to develop everything from craft-beer tours in Belo Horizonte and foodie-oriented attractions near the Amazon to international student programs.

“I would love to get Richard Branson to help design something here in Brazil,” Lages says during a visit this week to Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. “Look at what he has done with Virgin Galactic.” The fact that Lages hasn’t yet pitched Branson on any aviation-related ideas underscores the fledgling state of his planning.

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U.S. World Cup Love Prompts Brazil to Shift Olympic Ads

August 28, 2014

Bill Faries – Bloomberg, 8/28/2014

American enthusiasm for soccer’s World Cup prompted Brazil to shift more of its advertising toward the U.S. ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the head of Brazil’s tourism agency Embratur said.

U.S. citizens represented just over 10 percent of the 1.04 million foreign visitors to Brazil during the month long tournament that ended July 13, Embratur President Vicente Neto said in an interview. That made the U.S. the second-biggest source of foreign fans after neighboring Argentina, whose team made it to the final against Germany.

“It exceeded all our expectations,” Neto said in Miami last week. “We’re expecting that to be the same with the Olympics, given the U.S. history and participation in the Games.”

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World Cup stadium inauguration postponed in Brazil

January 30, 2014

Associated Press, 1/30/2014

The first test match at a World Cup stadium in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre will not be played this weekend as planned because infrastructure work outside the venue has not been completed.

The Beira-Rio is not expected to be fully completed until late February, but local club Internacional was set to host matches with limited attendance beginning on Sunday. The matches would serve as test events as the stadium prepares to host five World Cup games in June.

The decision not to play at the Beira-Rio was made because of all the infrastructure work outside the venue.

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Tram in Brazil not ready for World Cup

January 8, 2014

Jenny Barchfield – Associated Press, 1/7/2014

A light rail system that was meant to help soccer fans get around World Cup host city Cuiaba, in Brazil’s remote Mato Grosso state, will not be ready in time for the tournament, a top state official says.

Mauricio Guimaraes, who heads World Cup projects in the far western state, said the 13 mile-long train lines won’t be completed until December, more than five months after the end of the World Cup.

Mato Grosso’s infrastructure projects have been plagued by delays, and news reports say 47 out of the state’s 56 World Cup-related projects are delayed. Cuiaba’s Arena Pantanal stadium, which is scheduled to hold four World Cup matches starting with Chile vs. Australia on June 13, was among six World Cup stadiums throughout Brazil that missed the Dec. 31 delivery deadline set by world soccer’s governing body, FIFA.

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Brazil marks Candelaria massacre anniversary

July 23, 2013

Jo Griffin – Al Jazeera, 07/23/2013

It was a dark chapter in Brazil’s history that shocked the world and sowed the seeds of social reform after eight street children were gunned down by off-duty police officers outside the Catholic Candelaria Cathedral on July 23, 1993.

Twenty-years later, some observers are questioning if the upcoming World Cup in 2014 and 2016 Olympics will lead to further police abuse against vulnerable young people as authorities attempt to clean up Rio de Janeiro. The anniversary also puts the spotlight on persistent accusations of police brutality, mostly against Brazil’s most impoverished people.

While celebrations are underway with the visit of Pope Francis to Rio, the grim Candelaria anniversary will be marked with several sombre events and marches outside the church.

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