Brazil’s ‘new middle class’ struggles as economy plunges

Asher Levine – Reuters, 10/12/2015

Until recently, Lucinelia de Jesus Souza’s future seemed bright, running a small coffee shop that caters to factory workers and other blue-collar customers in this industrial suburb of São Paulo.

But the faded pink counters of her shoebox-sized business, which opened a decade ago and blossomed as Brazil’s economy grew quickly, now see fewer customers stopping in for coffee or deep-fried pastries.

Her income has fallen by half since 2012, forcing the 43-year-old to cut the sort of spending that once heralded an emerging new consumer class in Latin America’s biggest country.

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