Brazil inflation at 12-year high compounds economic crisis

Jonathan Wheatley, The Financial Times, 11/20/2015 

Brazilian inflation has reached its highest level in 12 years, adding to the government’s challenges as it struggles to steer the country through an economic and political crisis.
Inflation in the year to November was 10.28 per cent according to the IBGE, Brazil’s statistics office. Yet, despite rapidly rising prices, the economy is set to contract 3 per cent this year, according to a weekly central bank survey of market economists.

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Foreign Investors Buy into Brazil, Lead M&A Activity

MARLA DICKERSON and LUCIANA MAGALHAES, The Wall Street Journal, 11/20/2015 

razilian companies are the cheapest they have been in years, presenting bargain hunters with prime buying opportunities.

But foreign investors appear to be keener on the nation’s prospects than Brazilians, many of whom are spooked by the political turmoil that is worsening the nation’s economic slowdown.

Earlier this month, New York’s Coty Inc. agreed to pay $1 billion for the beauty-care unit of São Paulo-based Hypermarcas, expanding its presence in Latin America’s largest economy.

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Brazil´s Batista says he wants to do business again

Luciana Magalhaes – The Wall Street Journal, 11/17/2015

After losing about $30 billion in the past few years amid the collapse of his industrial group, embattled Brazilian entrepreneur Eike Batista told a congressional panel Tuesday that he has nearly paid off or renegotiated all his debts and wants to do business again.

“I am not bankrupt,” Mr. Batista told a commission formed to investigate possible irregularities in loans given by Brazil´s development bank, or BNDES, to some large local conglomerates.

BNDES signed agreements to loan Mr. Batista’s firms around 10 billion reais (about $2.62 billion). Mr. Batista paid off some of that debt. The rest was assumed by investors who purchased the businessman’s companies out of bankruptcy. Mr. Batista denied receiving any special favors from the development bank and said he paid the same rates as other borrowers.

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Brazil economic plan shows political rift

Joe Leahy – Financial Times, 11/16/2015

Brazil vice-president Michel Temer has launched a new liberal economic policy platform for his party that represents a radical break with the left-leaning programme of Dilma Rousseff, the country’s president.

The move illustrates a widening split between Mr Temer’s PMDB, Brazil’s largest political grouping consisting of mostly conservative regional politicians, and its official ally, Ms Rousseff’s ruling Workers’ party, or PT.

Mr Temer will put the programme, which reads like a wishlist for markets and investors with proposals to liberalise industrial relations and reform pensions and government spending, to a PMDB party congress for adoption on Tuesday.

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Another two Brazil dams ‘at risk of collapsing’

BBC News, 11/17/2015

Brazilian mining company Samarco says two dams it uses to hold waste water from iron production are damaged and at risk of collapsing.

One of the company’s reservoirs burst earlier this month, flooding dozens of homes in the south-eastern state of Minas Gerais.
Eleven people were killed and 12 are missing presumed dead.

Emergency work to try to avoid another breach will begin immediately and will last up to 90 days, the company said.
The company initially said that two of its dams – Fundao and Germano – had burst on 5 November.

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TIAA-CREF, U.S. investment giant, accused of land grabs in Brazil

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 11/16/2015

As an American investment giant that manages the retirement savings of millions of university administrators, public school teachers and others, TIAA-CREF prides itself on upholding socially responsible values, even celebrating its role in drafting United Nations principles for buying farmland that promote transparency, environmental sustainability and respect for land rights.

But documents show that TIAA-CREF’s forays into the Brazilian agricultural frontier may have gone in another direction.

The American financial giant and its Brazilian partners have plowed hundreds of millions of dollars into farmland deals in the cerrado, a huge region on the edge of the Amazon rain forest where wooded savannas are being razed to make way for agricultural expansion, fueling environmental concerns.

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Brazil’s president wins breathing space

Paulo Trevisani – The Wall Street Journal, 11/18/2015

Brazilian lawmakers have delivered a partial victory to embattled President Dilma Rousseff, ratifying her vetoes on bills that could worsen public finances in Latin America’s largest economy.

In a late session, lawmakers approved some of the vetoes and left some others for Wednesday. The measures have been waiting ratification for months, adding uncertainty to Brazil’s turbulent politics and shaky economy.

The bills vetoed earlier this year could add 127.8 billion Brazilian reais ($33.5 billion) to an already large budget gap, according to government calculations.

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