Interview with Thomas Lovejoy – Veja, 5/20/2015
In an interview with the Brazilian publication Veja, Thomas Lovejoy, Senior Fellow at the UN Foundation, Professor at George Mason University and member of the Brazil Institute Advisory Board , argues that infrastructural development and environmental conservation can – and should – coexist in Brazil. Lovejoy elaborates on two fundamental pillars necessary for sustainable development: research and development as well as political will. According to his extensive research in the Amazon over the last fifty years, Brazilian scientists have gained credibility and prominence for their research worldwide. However it is essential for that ‘know-how’ to be implemented in projects locally, such as hydroelectric dams, enabling their construction and maintenance to become as environmentally friendly as possible. Yet, Lovejoy argues that science is not enough. Rather, a “triple-bottom line” approach – focusing on the effects to people, planet and politics/profits of a project – is a way to preserve biodiversity in the Amazon. Thomas Lovejoy stresses that, although politicians have passed important environmental protection legislation in recent years, new energy project initiatives by the public and private sector need to recognize the value of the flora, fauna and indigenous populations surrounding rivers, instead of solely focusing on the energy-generating capacity of hydroelectric dams. Furthermore, Lovejoy argues that the lack of sustainable development – both locally and globally – have contributed to climate change, deforestation and loss of biodiversity in Brazil and worldwide.
Read more in Portuguese…
Christian Berthelsen – Wall Street Journal, 5/17/2015
Coffee investors are betting that the world’s biggest producer will have fewer beans to sell this year.
Brazil has been exporting huge volumes of coffee as the value of its currency has tumbled in relation to the U.S. dollar. The depreciation has encouraged exports by making foreign sales more lucrative, increasing returns when dollar-denominated sales are converted back to the real. Brazil’s currency fell to a 12-year low against the dollar in March amid government budget deficits and an uncertain economic outlook.
Joe Leahy – The Financial Times, 05/14/2015
In Brazil’s hyper-consumerist society, people are accustomed to paying for everything in instalments, from fridges and televisions to silicon breast implants. But less commonly known is that even bribes to political parties can allegedly be paid parcelado, as the practice of paying in instalments is called.
That is what Augusto Ribeiro de Mendonça Neto, a former board member of oil and gas services company Toyo Setal, claimed in testimony in March. He alleges that he paid bribes to the ruling centre-left Workers’ party, or PT, between 2010 and 2013 in exchange for winning contracts with state-owned oil company, Petrobras.
The allegations form part of an investigation into a vast corruption scandal at Petrobras known as “car wash”. As part of the probe, Mr Mendonça told prosecutors that João Vaccari Neto, former PT treasurer, asked him to disguise the bribes as payments to a printing and advertising company named Editora Gráfica Atitude.
China is planning to invest up to $50bn (£32bn) in Brazil for new infrastructure projects.
The deal is due to be signed by banks from both countries during a visit by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang to Brazil next week.
The money will go towards building a railway link from Brazil’s Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast of Peru to reduce the cost of exports to China.
Samantha Pearson – Financial Times, 5/12/2015
For Brazil’s economists, 2015 will certainly be a year to forget. Latin America’s biggest economy is expected to contract by more than 1 per cent this year, marking the country’s worst recession in 25 years.
Meanwhile, inflation is set to end the year above 8 per cent, breaking the target range for the first time since 2003.
To add to the country’s woes, the corruption scandal at state-controlled oil company Petrobras — believed to be the biggest of its kind in Brazilian history — has the potential to slow growth further and accelerate job losses.
Anadolu Agency, 5/9/2015
Brazil, Peru and China are working on an outline agreement to create a new railway that would cross South America, the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported Tuesday.
The train line would cross the continent, linking Brazil’s Atlantic coastline with the Pacific Ocean in Peru, and in part boost commodity exports.
Preliminary reports estimate the Transoceanic Railway would cost at least $10 billion, and the Brazilian government hopes Chinese businesses will bid for sections of the project.
Paulo Trevisani – The Wall Street Journal, 5/12/2015
BRASÍLIA—Brazil’s government needs to implement its plans to improve its financial situation and bring price increases under control to help restore confidence, competitiveness and growth to the economy, the International Monetary Fund said in a report published Tuesday.
“Fiscal consolidation should proceed without delay along the announced lines, while monetary policy should remain tight to bring inflation to target,” the report said.
Finance Minister Joaquim Levy, who took office in January, is pushing spending cuts and higher taxes to plug a budget hole caused by years of costly economic stimulus.