News from Brazil

Brazil Weekly, March 21st

In Uncategorized on March 21, 2010 at 12:17 pm

POLITICS

The presidential candidate of Brazil’s ruling party, Dilma Rousseff, gained ground in a new opinion poll but fell short of expectations she could overtake her main rival, Sao Paulo state Governor Jose Serra. In the poll, 35 percent of voters said they would support Serra of the PSDB party in the Oct. 3 election compared with 30 percent for Rousseff (Reuters).

Presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff won’t choose central bank President Henrique Meirelles as her running mate, said campaign adviser and former Finance Minister Antonio Palocci (Bloomberg).

Central bank President Henrique Meirelles told the Democratic Movement Party, known as PMDB, that he plans to leave his post to run for the role of senator, representing the state of Goias (Bloomberg).

A Brazilian court has ordered President Lula da Silva to pay 5,000 reais ($2,803) for campaigning on behalf of his chosen successor last year while inaugurating a government-built sports complex (Bloomberg).

Brazil revealed a preliminary list of U.S. patents and intellectual property rights it could restrict unless both countries settle a long-standing dispute over U.S. cotton aid (Reuters).

Brazil’s decision to move forward with sanctions on U.S. intellectual property rights as part of a dispute over cotton subsidies may discourage investment in Latin America’s biggest economy, the Office of the United States Trade Representative said (Bloomberg).

President Lula kicked off a Middle East trip in Jerusalem by saying he wants to promote regional peace, after expressing concerns last week that Israel may attack Iran over its nuclear program (Bloomberg).

When President Lula da Silva defends Iran’s right to a nuclear program and makes plans to visit Tehran in May, he is following the path of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The similarities only go so far (Bloomberg).

The PSDB has broken off with president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s foreign policy, senator Arthur Virgílio (PSDB-AM) announced. Virgílio mentioned what he called “a sequence of mistakes” in the national foreign policy since the beginning of Lula’s government. He mentioned, for instance, the expropriation of Petrobras’ assets in Bolivia, the “attempt to push [Hugo] Chávez down our throat as a Mercosul member”, the asylum granted to the ousted Honduras president, Manuel Zelaya, the “absurd friendship declared to Iran’s dictatorship”, the “tolerance with North Korea’s regime” (Brazil Weekly).

ECONOMY

Brazil’s economy added jobs for the second straight month in February, creating a hefty 209,425 payroll positions as companies ramped up hiring amid a strong economic recovery, the government said (Reuters).

Brazil expects a new free trade agreement with Israel to swell bilateral trade to more than $3 billion within five years (Reuters).

Brazilian President Lula da Silva will extend subsidies for low-income housing that were begun last year in a program to build 1 million homes (Bloomberg).

ENERGY

Brazil is expected to invest 100 billion reais ($57 billion) in its electricity sector from 2010 to 2013, of which the BNDES national development bank will finance 60 percent (Reuters).

Power utility Eletrobras will hike investments in 2010 to 9 billion reais ($5.1 billion), up from 5.4 billion reais in 2009 (Reuters).

INFRASTRUCTURE

Brazil will double the size of its railroad expansion plan as it seeks to cut transportation costs and make the country’s goods more competitive abroad (Bloomberg).

Scomi Engineering, a Malaysian builder, and Bombardier Inc., the world’s largest maker of commuter trains and electric locomotives, are part of two groups shortlisted for a monorail project in Sao Paulo. The tender is for the 23.9-kilometer Tiradentes project (Bloomberg).

Transpetro launched the tender to build 20 convoys (80 barges and 20 pusher tugs) that will navigate the Tietê-Paraná waterway, transporting ethanol to the domestic and foreign markets. The socalled Promef Waterway is  a new project under the Fleet Modernization and Expansion Program (Promef) (Brazil Weekly).

OIL

Petrobras said it found light oil in a well off the coast of Sergipe state, part of an ongoing strategy to search for more crude in its existing production blocks (Reuters).

BP will pay $7 billion to Devon Energy for assets that will extend its reach into Brazil and bulk up its position in the Gulf of Mexico, as the world’s top oil companies look to acquisitions to refill depleting reserves (Reuters).

Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega may succeed Cabinet Chief Dilma Rousseff as chairman of Petrobras she steps down to campaign for Brazil’s presidency (Bloomberg).

Petrobras was the winner, for the second year in a row, of the Best-Managed Companies in Latin America ranking, published by London-based Euromoney magazine. The Company was also recognized as the best in the Most Useful and Informative Website and Best Managed Company in the Oil and Gas Sector categories (Brazil Weekly).

BANKING

Brazilian banking group Safra and Indian family-owned investment firm Hinduja are in the running to buy KBC’s private banking unit KBL European Private Bankers (Reuters).

Most bank managers fret about bad loans or a run on deposits. Luzia Moraes has to worry about a leak in the hull, bandits and rainstorms that keep clients away for weeks. Ms. Moraes, a 43-year-old former housewife, is at the helm of a swashbuckling new venture in Brazil—as manager of the first floating bank branch on the Amazon river system. From a riverboat, she peddles banking services in a frontier where people don’t have much money—let alone experience with ATMs, savings accounts or personal loans (Wall Street Journal).

RIO

A proposed cut to Rio de Janeiro’s share of Brazil’s oil revenues has provoked a furious reaction in the beach-side city, with officials saying the change would jeopardize its ability to host the World Cup and the Olympic Games (Reuters).

Downtown Rio de Janeiro filled with more than 80,000 people who endured heavy rainfall today to demonstrate against a proposal cutting the state’s share of Brazil’s oil royalties (Bloomberg).

Sérgio Cabral, the governor of Rio, asked the public to join a protest march against the so-called Ibsen amendment that will see Rio state lose out on an estimated R$7 billion per year (Rio Times).

Despite the global economic crisis which paralyzed property markets in much of the rest of the world, Rio’s property market is booming. With the city playing host to both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics the trend looks set to continue over the next five years (Rio Times).

BUSINESS

Steel do Brasil, the Brazilian miner that sold shares last year for the first time, has agreed to buy majority stakes in two Brazilian mining companies for about $435 million with the iron ore market at its most bullish in almost two years (Reuters).

OSX Brasil raised 2.82 billion reais ($1.58 billion) in an initial public offering, less than expected and a setback to billionaire Eike Batista, who controls the start-up shipbuilding and oil services company (Reuters).

The Brazilian subsidiary of Mitsubishi Motors will invest 800 million reais ($454 million) in the next five years to build its four-wheel-drive Pajero Dakar jeep and Lancer sedan (Reuters).

Construtora Norberto Odebrecht is among three consortia that will be allowed to bid on a $1.5 billion contract to build a Panamanian subway (Reuters).

JBS SA, the world’s biggest beef producer, said it agreed to buy Rockdale Beef Ltd in Australia (Bloomberg).

Fiat SpA plans to hire 1,000 people in Brazil by the end of May as it seeks to boost vehicle output by about 6.5 percent. The workers will be hired at a plant in Betim in the state of Minas Gerais (Bloomberg).

Brazil’s Federal Police are investigating whether Sadia SA manipulated export contracts to make illegal money transfers to and from offshore units (Bloomberg).

AIR TRAVEL

Foreigners will be able to take a stake of up to 49 percent in Brazilian airlines compared with the current 20 percent limit, under a government proposal to modernize air transport before Brazil hosts the soccer World Cup and Olympic games (Reuters).

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  1. Nice Article. I’ll be back soon to read others articles from this site. Thanks

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