Brazil’s faltering economy needs some tough love

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.

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Brazil’s faltering economy needs some tough love

Brazil, Peru, China plan trans-South American railway

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.

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Brazil, Peru, China plan trans-South American railway

IMF Says Brazil Must Pursue Austerity, Meet Targets

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.

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IMF Says Brazil Must Pursue Austerity, Meet Targets

Carlyle’s Rubenstein: Brazil best, despite problems

Lawrence Delevigne – CNBC, 5/12/2015

Once an investor darling, Brazil is hardly a consensus target for international cash today.

High inflation, a sluggish economy and a massive corruption scandal at state energy company Petrobras have caused many investors to flee. But others are sticking with the beleaguered South American country.

One example is $193 billion private equity giant Carlyle Group. Co-CEO David Rubenstein thinks Brazil is actually the most appealing market for investment after the U.S., Europe and China, according to remarks made Tuesday at the Global Private Equity Conference in Washington, D.C.

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Carlyle’s Rubenstein: Brazil best, despite problems

Brazil Witness Alleges Politicians Knew About Alleged Petrobras Scheme

Luciana Magalhaes and Will Connors – The Wall Street Journal, 5/11/2015

CURITIBA, Brazil—A convicted money launderer at the heart of an investigation into an alleged corruption scheme at Brazil’s state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA alleged President Dilma Rousseff and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva knew about the alleged scheme.

Alberto Youssef, a currency dealer who was convicted of money laundering and sentenced last month to three years in prison, made the allegations to a congressional commission investigating the alleged corruption at Petrobras. Mr. Youssef had previously made the allegations to investigators as part of a plea deal for a lesser sentence.

When asked by lawmakers Monday if Ms. Rousseff and Mr. Lula da Silva, along with other top government officials, knew of the alleged scheme, Mr. Youssef said, “It is my understanding that [they] knew everything.”

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Brazil Witness Alleges Politicians Knew About Alleged Petrobras Scheme

Brazil passes femicide law to curb domestic violence

Donna Bowater and Priscilla Moraes – Al Jazeera America, 5/10/2015

RIO DE JANEIRO — “My best hope is that he dies,” the tall, slight and articulate 45-year-old speech therapist said calmly of her husband. “I know that he can kill me.”

The woman, who asked not to be identified, had gone to the courts in Rio de Janeiro to seek protection from her husband of 22 years.

After her husband suffered a psychiatric breakdown in 2001, she said, he became violent and threatened to kill her, their daughter and himself. “I learned that between him and me, it’s me first,” she said.

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Brazil passes femicide law to curb domestic violence

Brazil dengue outbreak exposes tough challenge for Rousseff

Brian Winter – Reuters, 5/12/2015

An epidemic of dengue fever is fanning public anger over what Brazilians say is President Dilma Rousseff’s biggest challenge – the sad state of the national healthcare system.

About 750,000 cases of the mosquito-borne virus have been confirmed this year in this country of 200 million people, leading to waits of four hours or longer at some hospitals.

The disease, which causes fever and joint pain, has killed 229 people so far this year – up 45 percent from the same period in 2014.

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Brazil dengue outbreak exposes tough challenge for Rousseff