Brian Winter – Reuters, 01/04/2011
President Dilma Rousseff’s new government moved immediately on Monday to tackle the biggest threats to Brazil’s booming economy, vowing new budget cuts, measures to deal with an overvalued currency, and even a tougher line in trade talks with China.
The first business day in office for Rousseff, 63, signaled a clearly market-friendly tone, as the pragmatic leftist knows she’ll need Wall Street’s support — and money — to make good on her ambitious goals of ending extreme poverty and expanding Brazil’s woeful infrastructure in the next four years.
Planning Minister Miriam Belchior said Rousseff would “listen carefully to the market’s concerns” and make necessary cuts to rein in a burst of government spending that has fueled a potentially dangerous rise in inflation.
Maria Luiza Rabello and Andre Solian – Bloomberg, 12/23/2010
Brazil’s congress, with the support of President-elect Dilma Rousseff’s team, approved a 5.9 percent increase in the minimum wage, resisting pressure from labor leaders for a bigger rise and signaling her commitment to contain public spending next year.
Lawmakers approved last night the 2011 budget bill, which lifts the monthly minimum wage to 540 reais ($318). Unions were seeking a 14 percent increase. The country’s benchmark inflation index is expected to rise 5.9 percent this year, according to central bank estimates.
Policy makers are counting on a tighter fiscal policy next year to help rein in inflation, which quickened to a 23-month high in mid-December, according to the central bank’s quarterly inflation report published yesterday. Finance Minister Guido Mantega, who will continue in his post when Rousseff takes office on Jan. 1, said in a Nov. 30 interview the government will freeze at least 20 billion reais of the 2011 budget to help ease demand.
Carla Simoes and ALexander Cuadros – Bloomberg Businessweek, 11/01/2010
Brazilian President-elect Dilma Rousseff spoke with her U.S. counterpart Barack Obama today to discuss Brazil’s foreign policy and energy cooperation between the two countries, Rousseff’s foreign policy adviser Marco Aurelio Garcia told reporters in Brasilia today.
Brazil’s next leader also spoke with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and met with allies including former Finance Minister Antonio Palocci to discuss her transition to power, Garcia said.
Rousseff won 56 percent of the vote yesterday compared with 44 percent for Jose Serra, the former governor of Sao Paulo state.
The yield on the January 2014 interest-futures contract fell 11 basis points, or 0.11 percentage point, to 11.560 percent at 3:56 p.m. New York time, after Rousseff pledged to maintain a lid on spending in her victory speech last night.
Ana Nicolaci da Costa- Reuters, 08/31/2010
Election debates in many countries revolve around health care, education, and foreign policy. In Brazil, monetary policy is taking center stage.
That reflects how deeply runaway inflation scarred the country’s national psyche in the 1980s and 1990s. Any Brazilian living back then remembers only too well having to rush to the supermarket before the prices doubled before their eyes.
These days they have to cope with some of the world’s highest interest rates that make loans eye-wateringly expensive and crimp investment in Latin America’s biggest economy.
Both presidential candidates have vowed to maintain the central bank’s de facto autonomy in the next government. Front-runner Dilma Rousseff of the ruling party has been careful to show her support for the central bank. However, there is speculation the bank faced some political pressure for lower rates in the current government in which Rousseff was cabinet chief.
Gerald Jeffris- The Wall Street Journal, 08/30/2010
BRASILIA (Dow Jones)–Brazil’s government-backed candidate Dilma Rousseff will not carry out an adjustment to the federal budget next year if elected to the country’s presidency, the candidate said Monday, according to the Estado news agency.
Speaking at a press conference in Sao Paulo, Rousseff denied the validity of recent local press reports that have suggested her advisers are preparing budget restrictions.
“I’m not going to carry out a fiscal adjustment under any circumstances,” she said. “Brazil doesn’t need a fiscal adjustment.”
Inter-American Dialogue Policy Brief, June 2010
Good fiscal policy not only promotes macroeconomic stability and growth, it is also a powerful tool for directly reducing poverty and inequality. Many governments around the world have raised and spent funds to build the assets of the poor and to directly redistribute income, successfully improving welfare and constructing more prosperous and equal societies.
Unfortunately, fiscal policy in Latin America does not have a good record of reducing poverty and inequality. Why? According to the best information available, the combination of inadequate revenues, low-quality services and poor targeting helps explain why poverty has declined so slowly and why inequality has remained extraordinarily high.
The frontrunner in Brazil’s presidential race plans to slash public spending and may lower the country’s inflation target if she is elected in October, Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported on Monday.
Dilma Rousseff of the ruling Workers’ Party already is making plans for her first months in office with an eye on shoring up her pro-market credentials with investors, Folha said, citing unnamed sources close to her campaign.
With public spending rising faster than federal tax revenues, Brazil’s primary budget surplus — which excludes interest payments on debt obligations — is running well below the government’s year-end target of 3.3 percent of gross domestic product.