Olympics meant to showcase Brazil’s emergence, now spotlight its collapse

Andrew O’Reily – Fods News Latino, 08/02/2016

Seven years ago when Brazil’s then-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced that Rio de Janeiro would host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games on the city’s famed Copacabana beach, there was the feeling in the air that something momentous was about to happen in the South American nation.

Lula promised Brazilians that the Olympics and the 2014 World Cup would showcase the country as an emerging power on the world stage that could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of the United States, Western Europe and Russia.

For Brazil, he suggested that day in 2009, the sky was the limit.

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Mexico’s star wanes as reforms underwhelm, Brazil rises

Michale O’Boyle and Bruno Federowski – Reuters, 07/13/2016

Foreign investors in Latin America are warming to Brazil as a promising turnaround bet while souring on Mexico and its landmark energy reform that has yet to deliver.

Brazil has yet to recover from its worst recession in decades, inflation and interest rates remain among the highest in the region and it is saddled with a bloated public sector. In contrast, Mexico’s economy is growing at around 2 percent, has lower fiscal deficits and sounder public finances.

But while Brazil interim president Michel Temer’s reform agenda offers some promise, Mexico, once a darling of foreign investors, is now a source of disappointment. A slump in oil prices dashed hopes that President Enrique Pena Nieto’s energy sector opening in 2013 along with telecoms and banking reforms would boost foreign investment and supercharge growth while clouds are now gathering over its budget and economy.

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Brazil opens investigation into McDonald’s

A federal prosecutor in Brazil on Thursday opened a criminal investigation into McDonald’s and its Latin American master franchise owner, Arcos Dorados Holdings, saying that they and related entities may have engaged in “fiscal and economic crimes.”

The prosecutor, Marcos José Gomes Corrêa, is looking into whether McDonald’s and Arcos, which subfranchises McDonald’s restaurants in Latin America, have failed to comply with tax and other laws in Brazil, in addition to possible violations of the country’s franchise law.

The possible tax law violations include accusations made by Brazilian labor unions that Arcos paid bribes to government officials in return for favors from Brazil’s tax collection regulator.

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Brazil’s Real Plunges Ahead of New Fiscal Target Announcement

Paula Sambo – Bloomberg Business, 12/16/2015

President Dilma Rousseff’s supporters on the congressional budget committee will introduce an amendment to the 2016 budget bill that would allow the administration to aim for a surplus before interest payments of 0.5 percent of gross domestic product, said Paulo Pimenta, the government’s leader on the committee. Rousseff previously wanted to target a so-called primary surplus of 0.7 percent.

The move, which was said to be opposed by Finance Minister Joaquim Levy, is seen by analysts as a potential trigger to further credit-rating downgrades and possibly even the exit of Levy from Rousseff’s administration. The currency lost 2 percent to 3.9521 per dollar at 9:38 a.m. in Sao Paulo, the largest decline among 31 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

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Brazil’s Rousseff navigates troubles at home as she ponders a U.S. visit

Vinod Sreeharsha – McClatchyDC, 04/01/2015

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is expected to meet President Barack Obama next week when the Western Hemisphere’s leaders gather for the Summit of the Americas in Panama, in what will be Rousseff’s highest-profile encounter with Obama since revelations last year that the National Security Agency had spied on her.

Made public in the documents leaked by fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the spying revelation led to the cancellation of a planned Rousseff visit to Washington, and she’s expected to respond next week to an invitation from the White House to reschedule the trip.

Yet tense relations with the Obama administration are nothing compared with what Rousseff faces at home: two years of virtually no economic growth, a currency that’s plunged 18 percent against the dollar just since Jan. 2, a major corruption scandal and loud calls for her resignation or impeachment. In just the third month of her second four-year term, her approval rating is 13 percent, according to the Brazilian pollster Datafolha, after she won 52 percent of the vote last fall.

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DEALTALK – Banks pin hopes for Brazil IPO revival on Levy’s success

Guillermo Parra-Bernal – Reuters, 02/04/2015

Any revival in initial public offerings in Brazil seems to hinge on whether new Finance Minister Joaquim Levy can clean up public finances and get the country’s economy back on track.

Strengthening the market for new listings depends increasingly on how much leeway President Dilma Rousseff will give the University of Chicago-trained economist to cut Brazil’s record budget gap and reverse the interventionist policies that marred her first term.

Stung by dozens of deals that failed to deliver the promised returns in recent years, money managers have become cautious about Brazilian offerings. In 2014, only one company went public on the São Paulo Stock Exchange, the worst performance for domestic IPOs in 11 years.

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Investors fear loss of millions in Brazilian property scheme

Joe Leahy – Financial Times, 1/30/2015

Nerys Pearce’s life changed forever when an illegally parked car backed out in front of her motorbike in London in 2008. The accident left the aspiring physiotherapist and triathlete, who planned to serve full-time in the British Army, paralysed from the chest down and unable to work.

After a five-year court battle, the Ascot, Berkshire, resident received a net settlement of nearly £1.2m. But her bad luck was far from over — she invested a large chunk of the money in EcoHouse Developments, a company controlled by former high-flying entrepreneur, Anthony Armstrong Emery.

A UK-based company that attracted investors from Britain, Singapore and other countries to its housing projects for the poor in Brazil, EcoHouse collapsed suddenly late last year and is now being probed by police in the UK and Brazil.

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