Archive for the ‘Brazil’ Category

Brazil Economists Cut 2014 Growth Call for Ninth Straight Week

| July 29th, 2014 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

By Matthew Malinowski

Brazil economists reduced their 2014 growth forecast for the ninth consecutive week, as policy makers seek to spur demand without further stoking above-target inflation.

Brazil’s gross domestic product will expand 0.90 percent this year, compared with the previous week’s forecast of 0.97 percent, according to the July 25 central bank survey of about 100 analysts published today. The economists’ growth forecast has dropped by nearly half since their 1.63 percent estimate from May 23.

President Dilma Rousseff is torn between the fastest annual inflation in 13 months and weakening growth as she campaigns for re-election. The central bank said on July 24 its strategy does not contemplate a lower key rate as above-target consumer prices will remain resistant. The next day, policy makers announced they would loosen deposit requirements to free up 45 billion reais ($20.2 billion) in consumer credit.

Policy makers on July 16 held the ... Read More

Japanese PM opens LatAm tour with Mexico energy deals

| July 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
Yahoo News-01

By Leticia Pineda

Mexico City (AFP) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe struck a series of energy deals with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the start of a five-country Latin American tour.

Abe, whose visit to the region comes on the heels of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s, met Pena Nieto at the presidential palace for talks that ended with the signing of a raft of deals.

The new agreements included one between Mexican state oil firm Pemex and Japan’s development bank, and another between Pemex and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation.

With Japan on the lookout for new power sources after the Fukushima disaster forced the shutdown of its nuclear reactors, energy is high on the prime minister’s agenda for the trip.

Mexico is undergoing sweeping changes in its energy sector, with Congress poised to end struggling Pemex’s 75-year monopoly ... Read More

Brazils Economy: All systems slow

| July 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

During the month-long football World Cup, which concluded in Brazil on July 13th, rua 25 de Março, a tatty but popular shopping street in São Paulo, was a riot of yellow and green. It was hard to buy anything that did not come in the Brazilian national colours. Now the flags and football jerseys are gone; the cheap bags and Calvin Klein knock-offs are back. Katia Maurício, who runs a stall full of T-shirts and headbands, is selling off the last of her World Cup-themed stock at a big discount. Business was good, she says. “But it will go downhill after the election.”

It is already heading that way. Business confidence has sunk to levels not seen since the depths of the global recession in 2009. Inflation among items whose prices are set by the market, not the government, stands at over 7%. Economists are busy slashing growth forecasts for 2014 ... Read More

No World Cup boost for Brazilian president’s reelection bid

| July 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY VINOD SREEHARSHA

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s path to reelection in October hit another bump this week when economists lowered their forecast for the country’s economic growth this year to under one percent, an ominous sign that Latin America’s largest economy is likely to continue sputtering. A survey of approximately 100 economists by Brazil’s Central Bank released Monday showed that they pegged growth for 2014 at 0.97 percent. That is down from 1.05 percent last week and 1.16 percent one month ago.

The forecast follows a new poll that came out late last week where the gap between Rousseff and her main opponents in a potential runoff dwindled to the narrowest it has ever been.

All this comes a week after Brazil hosted the World Cup to much adulation, without major problems, and in doing so won the hearts of thousands of foreign visitors — and billions of people who watched on television.

For ... Read More

China’s Xi eyes increased investment in Cuba

| July 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Yahoo News-01

Havana (AFP) – Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting Cuba with hopes of expanding political and economic ties in the fellow communist nation.

The tour of the Americas’ only one-party communist nation is the last leg of a weeklong trip in the region that has already taken Xi to Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela, as he reaches out to resource-rich countries often shunned by the United States and Europe.

The Chinese leader arrived in Havana late Monday from Caracas for the two-day official visit.

Xi aims to make his country — already Cuba’s second-largest trading partner after Venezuela and its primary source of credit — a major investor on the Caribbean island.

Coinciding with his trip, about 50 Chinese entrepreneurs traveled to Havana to explore business opportunities, attracted by foreign investment incentives and the future Mariel free trade zone outside the capital.

“We want Chinese businessmen to invest in Cuba and partner with Cuban companies,” said ... Read More

Putin’s hemispheric charm offensive

| July 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
The China Post-01

By John J. Metzler

It’s been a momentous week for Russian President Vladimir Putin. While the major media focused on his trip to Brazil to accept the handover for the next FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in Russia as well as his participation in the Summit of the BRIC economic powers, the real story was the largely overlooked wraparound of his Latin American charm offensive. Here’s the background.

Cuba

Before flying to Brazil for the final soccer match and the FIFA handover for the 2018 World Cup, Putin first stopped in Cuba to renew the spark of the old cold war alliance between Castro’s communists and the Soviet Union. While Russia’s political system has witnessed significant change since 1991 following the formal collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba remains in a kind of tropical torpor time warp. The Castro brothers still run the island but the revolutionary zeal is long gone and replaced ... Read More

China’s Goals in South America

| July 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Diplomat

By Shannon Tiezzi

As Xi Jinping travels through South America this week, China’s goals for the region are on display. Even though Xi ’s tour of South America only sees him stopping in three countries (Brazil, Venezuela, and Argentina), he has arranged meetings with even more leaders, including the presidents of Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Amidst all the diplomatic niceties, what does China actually want to achieve with Xi’s trip?

The most obvious priority is expanding economic ties between China and South America. Trade between China and Latin America (a region encompassing South America, Central America, and the Caribbean) has skyrocketed in the past 15 years, rising from a total value of $12 billion in 2000 to $261 billion in 2013. And there’s still room for growth, as China’s bilateral trade volumes with individual countries remain relatively low. China has grown to be Latin America’s second largest trading partner and may ultimately has its sights ... Read More

Putin’s Pirates Of The Caribbean Tour

| July 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
IBD

Geopolitics: Vladimir Putin blew through Latin America last week, handing out goodies to anti-U.S. regimes. But he insists he doesn’t want to reopen an old spy base in Cuba, which we find disingenuous.

The scope of the Russian president’s visit took the U.S. by surprise. Instead of just attending the World Cup final and a summit of BRICS countries, Putin made an unexpected visit to Nicaragua, with talk of a military land base there. He then flew to Argentina, reportedly with promises for two nuclear plants, and on to Venezuela to offer a credit lifeline.

Last but not least, Putin stopped in Cuba to sign deals on everything from electricity output to exploration for oil with Rosneft (the company whose unsavory oligarch, Igor Sechin, was the target of Wednesday’s sanctions over Ukraine). There was also a dramatic announcement that Russia would forgive 90% of Cuba’s $35 billion debt.

But on Thursday, Putin denied that ... Read More

China, Russia leaders seek South American inroads

| July 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By JOSHUA GOODMAN

It’s enough to make an aging U.S. Cold Warrior shudder.

During overlapping visits to Latin America, the leaders of China and Russia have been welcomed with open arms by governments that are among the most hostile to Washington, including Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Together with stops in Argentina and Brazil, which both have distanced themselves from the U.S. in recent years, the tours underscore the mix of ideology and economics that’s allowing the two superpowers to expand their influence in America’s backyard.

“These are all countries the U.S. has some real question marks about,” said Kevin Gallagher, a Boston University economist and expert on Chinese-Latin American ties. “It’s going to require some PR so as not to be interpreted in certain, phobic circles as an overt alignment with left-leaning governments at odds with the U.S.”

Both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian leader Vladimir Putin said their visits were focused on ... Read More

Why Colombia makes a nice alternative to Brazil

| July 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
Market Watch

By Peter Kohli

In my previous column on Chile, I explained why I was looking at opportunities in South America that were neither Brazil-focused nor ETFs based on the Andean Exchange. Today I’m going to look Colombia and why looking past the obvious could make for some good investing in this country.

I’m approaching the picks based on specific sectors which I think will do well on their own, namely consumer goods, finance and infrastructure.

Colombia has gone through its political and economic turnaround, and it now offers a very good macroeconomic story. For me, it’s a particularly auspicious sign that the Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, won re-election, thereby giving foreign investors more comfort and the country more stability, to say nothing of the fact that he, unlike his opponent, is committed to ending 50 years of rebel conflict in the country.

Colombia’s economy grew 5.9% last year, according to ... Read More

Russia’s Ambitious Energy Diplomacy in Latin America

| July 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
Oil Price

By Nick Cunningham

Russian President Vladimir Putin, seeking to build alliances to counter Western influence, signed several energy deals in Latin America this past week.

The first stop on Putin’s six-day tour was Havana on July 11, where he met with Cuban President Raul Castro. The two sides reached an agreement that could see Russia exploring for oil in Caribbean waters, which would build up Cuba’s offshore oil industry. Putin also decided to wipe away 90 percent of the $32 billion worth of debt Cuba owes Russia, most of it dating back to the Soviet era.

The agreement was no doubt motivated by Putin’s desire to push back against what he views as U.S. meddling in Ukraine. Exploring for oil only a few dozen miles from the U.S. coast is a finger in Uncle Sam’s eye. “We will provide support to our Cuban friends to overcome the illegal blockade of Cuba,” Putin said on July ... Read More

Citizens’ security is Latin America’s biggest problem

| July 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

PEDRO RODRÍGUEZ, head of Nicaragua’s youth-affairs police, grabs the shoulder of 17-year-old Axel Matus and gives it a shake. “He was one of our worst cases,” he says. In most of Latin America, a youth with Axel’s background—gangs, drugs, knife-fights, joblessness—would cringe at such attention from a burly police commander. But Axel stands bolt upright and admits: “My life was utter chaos.”

Not any more. Axel now attends the Juvenile Affairs police headquarters in Managua, where he is given free meals and tuition every day. Besides subjects like maths and English, he is learning how to be a barber (his blade skills now applied with scissors). Hundreds of troubled kids voluntarily study with him, and the police chief knows most of them by name. They are neatly dressed and ooze self-esteem.

Nicaragua’s police force is in danger of giving socialism a good name. The country is one of the poorest in the ... Read More

China’s Shaky Latin American Liabilities

| July 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
The National Interest

By Matt Ferchen

China may have been a no-show for the 2014 World Cup, but at next weeks’ 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, all eyes will be on President Xi Jinping. While the summit is likely to result in important announcements such as a Shanghai-based BRICS Bank, the rest of Xi’s Latin America visit, which will include stops in Cuba, Venezuela, and Argentina, is bound to attract even more headlines.

Pundits inside and outside of China will either trumpet or decry the trip as a grand tour of China’s Latin American socialist and statist friends and a slap in the face to the United States. However, no matter how much socialist solidarity and “South-South” diplomatic back-slapping is offered up for public consumption, President Xi’s trip will actually be less about deepening already healthy ties with strong regional allies than seeking to mitigate deep anxieties about its commercial and diplomatic relations with dysfunctional friends.

In contrast ... Read More

BRICS Fight Waning Clout With $150 Billion Deal in Brazil Summit

| July 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

By Raymond Colitt

The leaders of five of the world’s largest emerging markets will showcase a new currency reserve fund and development bank this week. Critics say neither is enough to revive the group’s waning clout.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, known as the BRICS, will approve the creation for the $100 billion reserve fund and $50 billion bank at a July 15-16 summit in Brazil’s coastal city of Fortaleza and the capital Brasilia.

The initiatives are born out of frustration with a lack of participation in global governance, particularly in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, said Arvind Subramanian, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The measures aren’t big enough to boost growth or cohesion in the group as foreign investor sentiment sours and member states focus on issues close to home, such as Brazil’s elections, the conflict in Ukraine and new economic policy plans in India.

“It’s hard to see a lot of impetus at this stage ... Read More

Chinese President leaves for Latin America

| July 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
Xinhuanet

BEIJING, July 13 – Chinese President Xi Jinping left Beijing on Sunday morning for statevisits to Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba.

Xi will visit the four countries at the invitation of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff,Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Raul Castro, president of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of Cuba.

Xi will attend the sixth BRICS Summit and the China-Latin America and the Caribbean Summit in Brazil.

Xi’s entourage includes Wang Huning, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Policy Research Office of theCPC Central Committee; Li Zhanshu, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC CentralCommittee, member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and director of theGeneral Office of the CPC Central Committee and State Councilor Yang Jiechi.

Click here for original article.

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Brazil’s World Cup Humiliation Threatens Dilma’s Reelection

| July 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
World Crunch-01

By Natuza Nery and Valdo Cruz

BRASILIA — What will be the political and economic reverberations of Tuesday’s historic humiliation of Brazil’s soccer team?

The government of President Dilma Rousseff is already on alert, fearing that the national bad mood left by the 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany may deepen the already rather bleak Brazilian economic forecast, and have an impact on the upcoming presidential election slated for October.

Up until this week, Rousseff had been riding the wave of a successful World Cup, both on and off the pitch, as Brazil’s team kept advancing, sometimes with difficulty, towards the final. She attacked “pessimists” and “vultures,” lumping together critics of the World Cup organization and those who voiced their low expectations regarding Brazil’s sporting performance.

A prompt public reaction to the defeat came from the President herself. She wrote on Twitter, “Like all Brazilians, I’m very, very sad about the defeat. I am immensely sorry for us all, the fans and ... Read More

Putin to visit Cuba and other LatAm nations

| July 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
From AFP

President Vladimir Putin will next week begin a major Latin America tour that will take him to Cuba, Argentina and Brazil as he seeks to counter Russia’s growing international isolation over the Ukraine crisis.

Putin will begin his six-day tour with the July 11 visit to Cuba, the Kremlin said on Friday, where he will meet President Raul Castro and the 87-year-old father of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.

The visit to the Communist-run island will come as tensions remain high between Russia and the West over the Ukraine crisis. Havana has sided with its old ally Russia in the conflict.

Putin and his Cuban hosts are expected to discuss cooperation in energy, transport, aviation, space and health, the Kremlin said.

He will then travel to Argentina for trade and energy talks with President Cristina Kirchner, before moving on to a summit of the BRICS group of developing countries in Brazil.

The highlight of the ... Read More

Cybercrime Scheme Uncovered in Brazil

| July 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By NICOLE PERLROTH

SAN FRANCISCO — Security researchers have uncovered what they believe is a significant cybercrime operation in Brazil that took aim at $3.75 billion in transactions by Brazilians.

It is unclear what percentage of the $3.75 billion worth of compromised transactions was actually stolen. But if even half of that value was redirected to criminals, the scope of the swindle would eclipse any other previous electronic theft.

The thieves preyed on Boleto Bancário, or Boletos, a popular Brazilian payment method that can be issued online and paid through various channels like banks and supermarkets, said researchers at the RSA Security division of the EMC Corporation.

Researchers said the ring had been using what they called bolware — a play on Boletos and malware, a term for software intended for illegitimate purposes — to intercept legitimate Boletos payments and redirect them to ... Read More

Brazil: Major economic draw, major headache

| June 30th, 2014 | No Comments »
USA TODAY

BY ALAN GOMEZ

Felipe Berer has ridden the entire Brazilian wave.

It started in 2010, when the financial world fell in love with Brazil. After a decade of solid growth, the country’s economy exploded with a staggering 7.5% increase in output that year. Tens of millions of people were entering the middle class — and the consumer market — and foreign businesses were racing to get in on it.

“Most people thought the future had arrived,” said Berer, who was shipped from Miami to his native Brazil to help his law firm, Akerman, establish itself there. “The question everybody had was, ‘Is this sustainable or not?’”

It was not. The commodity prices that had largely spurred Brazil’s growth leveled off. The economic rise that had pushed so many out of poverty became a drag — government spending on roads, hospitals, education and other public infrastructure couldn’t keep up, leading to gridlock everywhere. The International ... Read More

For Brazilians, a World Cup of woe

| June 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Los Angeles Times

BY PAULO SOTERO

When the World Cup ends a month from now — I hope with a sixth star shining on the golden jerseys of the home team — the problems that plagued Brazil’s hosting effort will remain. With or without a trophy, Brazil will face major challenges in its transformation from one of the world’s most unequal societies into a thriving democracy.

Brazilians have been in a sour mood since June 2013, when massive street demonstrations erupted against lavish World Cup spending in a country lacking good basic education, healthcare and public transportation. The protesters’ underlying message was simple: their love of soccer should not be taken for granted by the government and the country’s self-serving politicians.

For the country’s growing middle class, the news of delays and deficiencies in the construction and update of stadiums, mass transit, airport terminals and communications networks are manifestations of problems that ordinary citizens, ... Read More

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