News from Brazil

Brazil Weekly, January 31st

In Uncategorized on January 31, 2010 at 1:34 pm

POLITICS

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Saturday he is “in perfect health,” after undergoing a series of medical tests following his brief hospitalization for high blood pressure two days ago (Reuters).

Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said he had held talks with Iran’s foreign minister in an effort to restart dialogue over Tehran’s nuclear program (Reuters).

“Admitting to liberalism explicitly,” wrote Roberto Campos, a Brazilian politician, diplomat and swimmer against the tide who died in 2001, “is as outlandish in a country with a dirigiste culture as having sex in public.” His observation still holds for Brazil, where economic liberals (in the British, free-market sense, not the socialistic American one) are as scarce as snowflakes. Read the full article in The Economist.

Next month the ruling PT (Workers Party) will hold its fourth congress. The event, which is scheduled from February, 18th to the 21st, will be a chance for the party to discuss its general directives, organize campaign strategies for October’s federal and state elections, and, as has been expected for many months, launch the official candidacy of presidential hopeful and current Lula administration Chief of Staff Dilma Rousseff. Read the full analysis in The Rio Times.

ECONOMY

The economy is returning to normal and no longer needs so much fiscal stimulus, Central Bank President Henrique Meirelles said (Reuters).

Brazil’s economy is “more sustainable” than China’s because its exports of raw materials from metals to crops make it more resilient, investor Mark Mobius  said (Bloomberg).

BUSINESS

Braskem, Latin America’s largest petrochemical company, may unveil as soon as Monday the purchase of U.S.-based Sunoco Inc.’s petrochemical assets for about $400 million (Reuters).

Braskem may invest as much as $13 billion in new projects over the next seven years (Bloomberg).

Aircraft maker Embraer may develop its largest-ever jet in a bid to meet demand by airlines (Reuters).

Civil construction conglomerate Camargo Correa withdrew its proposal to merge its cement operations with Portuguese Cimpor, the target of a takeover bid by Brazil’s CSN (Reuters).

Mining company Vale said that it would pay $3.8 billion to buy Bunge Ltd’s fertilizer assets in Brazil, as global demand for potash is boosted by growing food consumption (Reuters).

Bombardier Inc. plans to invest in train projects in Brazil and will reactivate and expand a plant in Hortolandia (Bloomberg).

ENERGY

Brazil’s Mines and Energy minister denied a newspaper report the government had drafted a provisional measure to enable concessions for electricity companies to be renewed by decree (Reuters).

AIR TRAVEL

Brazil’s largest airline, TAM Linhas Aereas is in talks to buy a stake in Chile’s flagship airline LAN owned by President-elect Sebastian Pinera (Reuters).

Brazil’s youngest airline, Azul, has new investors, the US private equity firm Texas Pacific Group, which on January 22nd confirmed that it had acquired a stake in the fast growing carrier (The Rio Times).

Ryanair Holdings Plc has offered to buy an undisclosed equity stake in WebJet, the closely held Brazilian airline, a WebJet spokeswoman said (Bloomberg).

OIL

State-run oil company Petrobras said its exports of oil and oil products in 2009 reached an average 705,000 barrels per day, up 4.8 percent from 2008. Exports of oil alone rose 8.9 percent to 478,000 barrels per day (Reuters).

Brazilian oil and gas start-up company OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes  expects its output to reach 1.4 million barrels per day in 2019, it said in a securities filing (Reuters).

BP Plc Chief Executive Officer said he may consider buying some Repsol oil fields in Brazil and isn’t interested in ConocoPhillips assets (Bloomberg).

Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. energy producer, said it will invest in a $5.2 billion oil project off the coast of Brazil, the company’s second deepwater development in Latin America’s biggest economy (Bloomberg).

BANKING

Bradesco, Brazil’s second-largest private-sector bank, plans to invest 4.2 billion reais ($2.26 billion) in 2010 on technology infrastructure and opening new branches, Chief Executive Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi said (Reuters).

Banco do Brasil, Latin America’s largest bank by assets, said it will soon conclude a plan to sell new stock worth as much as 10 billion reais ($5.42 billion) (Reuters).

REAL ESTATE

Following decades of neglect, the cluster of neighborhoods that comprise Rio de Janeiro’s historic Centro are currently in an exciting, long term process of redevelopment (The Rio Times).

BRASILIA 50

Fifty years ago the region where Brazil’s capital, Brasília, exists, was a barren plain known as Planalto Central (Central Plateau). Today more than 2.5 million people live there, the fourth largest city in Brazil (The Rio Times).

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