Asher Levine – Reuters, 9/11/2015
Brazil’s financial markets fell on Thursday after Standard & Poor’s cut the country’s rating to junk late Wednesday, though losses were mitigated by bets that competing ratings agencies will not immediately strip Brazil of its investment grade.
Brazil’s rating downgrade, which came sooner than many in the market had expected, reflected President Dilma Rousseff’s struggle to regain investor confidence as political turmoil drives a growing government deficit in Latin America’s largest economy.
The Brazilian real BRL= fell nearly 3 percent to a 13-year low of 3.9 per U.S. dollar before closing at 3.8497, down 1.3 percent on the day.
Rodrigo Orihuela – Bloomberg Business, 8/31/2015
Telefonica SA’s growth in Brazil will probably be strong enough for the telecommunications provider to withstand the country’s longest recession since the 1930s, according to Chief Operating Officer Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete.
Telefonica is increasing its share in Brazil’s broadband market as it integrates GVT, the Internet operator acquired from Vivendi SA. The carrier has also manged to stabilize its fixed-lines operation in Sao Paulo, Pallete said.
“The economy won’t help, but the company is improving,” Pallete told reporters late Sunday in Santander, Spain. “We won’t change our plans. The current momentum will continue. We are optimistic toward the medium term.”
Harry Davies – The Guardian, 8/30/2015
One of Britain’s biggest corporate names has been dragged into a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal after Rolls-Royce admitted it was cooperating with Brazilian authorities investigating bribery in the country’s state oil business.
The engineering group, which said earlier this year that it had not been approached by the Brazilian authorities, confirmed that it was now cooperating with investigators after being asked about its relationship with a businessman facing various investigations connected to the scandal.
Scrutiny from the Brazilian investigators comes as Rolls-Royce remains under criminal investigation in the UK over bribery allegations in Asia. It also faces investor calls to be broken up following a series of profit warnings.
Chancellor Merkel, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and several other high-ranking German politicians have touched down in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia.
The German delegation set off on its 12-hour flight immediately after a Bundestag vote approving a new bailout package for Greece.
It’s the first such bilateral “governmental consultation” meeting between the European and South American economic powerhouses.
Following the third wave of massive street demonstration in Brazil on Sunday August 16, former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso issued a statement on August 17 asking President Dilma Rousseff to step down or admit she made mistakes in order to regain the trust of the Brazilian people and recover her lost political legitimacy
The most significant part of the demonstrations, such as the ones that took place yesterday, is the persistence of the popular sentiment that the government, albeit legal, is illegitimate. It is lacking a moral base that has been eroded by the shenanigans of lulopetismo (government led by Luis Inacio Lula da Silva of the Workers’ Party). Similar to the metaphor of the doll dressed as a prisoner [seen in street protests], even though our President can personally protect herself, she suffers contamination by the misdeeds of her patron and continuously loses the ability to govern. At this point, collusion behind closed doors is only increasing the negative reactions of citizens and does not return legitimacy to the government – that is – the acceptance of its right to command, to lead. If the President is unable to make a gesture of greatness (resignation or a frank admission that she made mistakes and offer paths to be taken for national recovery), we will witness the growing disarticulation of the government and the Congress, taking hits from the Lavajato scandal. That is until a leader with moral strength says, as Ulysses Guimarães [who led the campaign to reinstate democracy following the 1964-1985 military dictatorship did,Constitution in hand, as he addressed (then President Fernando) Collor ( just before he was impeached): “You think you are President, Sir, but you no longer are.
The statement in Portuguese:
O mais significativo das demonstrações, como as de ontem, é a persistência do sentimento popular de que o governo, embora legal, é ilegítimo. Falta-lhe a base moral, que foi corroída pelas falcatruas do lulopetismo. Com a metáfora do boneco vestido de presidiário, a Presidente, mesmo que pessoalmente possa se salvaguardar, sofre contaminação dos malfeitos de seu patrono e vai perdendo condições de governar. A esta altura, os conchavos de cúpula só aumentam a reação popular negativa e não devolvem legitimidade ao governo, isto é, a aceitação de seu direito de mandar, de conduzir. Se a própria Presidente não for capaz do gesto de grandeza (renúncia ou a voz franca de que errou, e sabe apontar os caminhos da recuperação nacional), assistiremos à desarticulação crescente do governo e do Congresso, a golpes de Lavajato. Até que algum líder com forca moral diga, como o fez Ulysses Guimarães ao Collor: “O sr. pensa que é presidente, mas já não é mais”.
Silvio Cascione – Reuters, 8/12/2015
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and leading senators plan to introduce an agenda of market-friendly proposals this week, in a move one senior official said was aimed at countering a revolt by lower chamber lawmakers.
The “Brazil Agenda” put forward by Senate President Renan Calheiros was discussed at a dinner Rousseff hosted for senators from her coalition on Monday as she looks to rekindle economic growth and overcome a major political crisis.
The conversation suggests a rapprochement between Rousseff and Calheiros, whose ties had been strained because of the senator’s outrage at being investigated for alleged involvement in a corruption scandal at state-run oil firm Petrobras, formally known as Petroleo Brasileiro SA.
Bob Pisani – CNBC, 7/31/2015
Can it get any worse for Brazil? Last week the government lowered the country’s growth output from a modest gain to a contraction of 1.49 percent. Unemployment, no doubt under-reported, is at 6.9 percent in June and rising.
Dilma Rousseff, the country’s president, who had previously been a big spender, is now pushing austerity to maintain the country’s credit rating.
To little avail. She is on a collision course with Congress, which wants to raise wages and spend even more. Labor unions are threatening ongoing strikes.