Joe Leahy – The Financial Times, 7/01/2015
Mercosur and the EU appear set to exchange formal offers on tariffs by the end of the year, raising hopes that the South American bloc is close to clinching the biggest trade deal in its 24-year history.
Armando Monteiro, the Brazilian trade and industry minister, told the Financial Times in an interview that the exchange of market access offers would mark an important step towards full implementation of the proposed trade deal as early as next year.
The South American bloc and the EU have been engaged in on-off talks on a deal since 1999.
Rogerio Jelmayer – The Wall Street Journal, 7/02/2015
Brazil’s federal police have arrested another former executive of state-run energy company Petróleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, as part of an investigation into a broader corruption scandal that has wounded the country’s largest company.
Police arrested Jorge Zelada, a former top executive of Petrobras, early Thursday at his home in Rio de Janeiro. Mr. Zelada was arrested on suspicion of corruption and money laundering, said a police spokesman. Mr. Zelada’s lawyer couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
Mr. Zelada was director of international operations of Petrobras from 2008 to 2012. He replaced Nestor Cerveró, who was convicted in May of money laundering and sentenced to five years in prison for his role in the widening scandal.
Jackie Northam – NPR, 6/30/2015
It’s rare that a world leader will cancel a planned state visit to the White House, but that’s what happened two years ago when Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff found out that the U.S. had been spying on her and her top aides.
The Brazilian leader is now trying to let bygones be bygones, and is in Washington, D.C., to visit with President Obama.
Rousseff’s decision to cancel the state visit — with its formal dinners and high-profile meetings — threw a strong and robust bilateral relationship into disarray, says Eric Farnsworth of the Council of the Americas and Americas Society.
Rogerio Jelmayer – The Wall Street Journal, 6/21/2015
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s approval rating dropped to a record low, poll results showed Sunday, amid the country’s sluggish economic performance and corruption allegations involving the state-run energy company.
According to a survey by the Datafolha polling institute, 10% of respondents said the Rousseff administration was “excellent or good,” compared with 13% in a poll published in April.
Meanwhile, around 65% of respondents said Ms. Rousseff’s administration was “bad or terrible,” up from 60% in the previous survey. That was the highest level since 1992, when President Fernando Collor de Mello received a 68% rating shortly before he was impeached.
Brian Ellsworth – Reuters, 6/20/2015
Venezuela’s foreign ministry has accused a group of Brazilian senators of seeking to destabilize the country during a brief visit on Thursday and denied their safety was under threat.
Brazilian opposition senators said their minibus was stoned and blocked as they attempted to drive from the coastal airport to Caracas and then to visit opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who is being held in a military jail.
“A group of Brazilian senators … arrived in the country with the sole purpose of destabilizing Venezuela’s democracy and generating confusion between brother nations,” the ministry said in a statement late on Friday.
Vivek Chaudhary – ESPN FC, 6/20/2015
As Brazil marks one year since hosting the World Cup, it reflects on the tournament’s checkered legacy. More than $3 billion was spent on building five new stadiums and renovating seven existing ones, but many of these so-called white elephants are as likely now to collect dust as they are to generate ticket receipts.
“When I look back on the 2014 World Cup, it is not good,” the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, told ESPN FC. “Brazil was left with some great stadiums, but they were too expensive because of corruption.
“Brazilians have not benefited from the tournament. There has been no legacy for them. The World Cup still makes them angry. There is regret that we even staged it.”
Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 6/19/2015
Brazil’s economy is grinding to the bottom. But the bottom doesn’t appear to have been hit just yet.
The monthly GDP proxy at the Central Bank of Brazil, known as the IBC-Br index, surprised on the downside on Friday by falling 0.84% in April. That’s from a downwardly revised -1.51% decline in the previous month and is now compatible with a yearly drop of 3.13%.
Putting this into perspective, Brazil’s BRIC counterpart Russia is expected to contract 3.25% this year and its economy is facing weaker oil prices and sanctions against its oil and finance companies. Brazil is moving in line with a sanctioned economy that is over dependent on one commodity, while Brazil has good relations with the world and a much more diverse economy.