News from Brazil

Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Government & Politics

In Uncategorized on April 25, 2010 at 2:24 pm

ELECTIONS

Brazilian Presidential candidate Jose Serra may renegotiate all contracts between private companies and the federal government if he is elected. Serra will also seek to cut wage spending in a bid to impose fiscal discipline and he supports a constitutional change to earmark all mining royalties for investments in infrastructure. Serra said he’ll also review Brazil’s commercial strategy and that the Mercosur trade block with Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay is a barrier to commercial agreements with other parts of the world. Serra said he would invite Sao Paulo state’s finance secretary, Maurto Ricardo Costa, to join his government if elected (Bloomberg).

Brazil’s ruling party candidate for the presidency, Dilma Rousseff, garnered 29 percent of voter intention against 36 percent for leading opposition candidate Jose Serra, an opinion poll by polling firm Ibope showed (Reuters).

Marina Silva’s main campaign theme is that Brazil has a moral responsibility to become a high-tech, low-carbon economy as an example to other developing countries. In a tacit critique of Lula’s fondness for a big state and for Fidel Castro, she also says that Brazil must lower its tax burden and not cuddle up to tyrants. Guilherme Leal, who owns Natura, a big cosmetics firm, and is one of Brazil’s richest men, is considering a request to be her running mate (The Economist).

ECONOMY

Brazilian credit is growing at an unsustainable rate and will slow when the central bank begins to raise rates at next week’s meeting (Bloomberg).

Brazil’s current account gap widened in March to the highest this year, a move that may limit the strengthening of the nation’s currency, said the chief economist at Sao Paulo-based Banco Espirito Santo SA (Bloomberg).

Brazil’s real will plunge 8 percent by yearend as President Lula da Silva’s government boosts government spending and the inflation outlook worsens, Scotia Capital said (Bloomberg).Economists in a weekly central bank survey raised for a 13th straight week their forecasts for Brazil’s benchmark inflation index in 2010, underscoring expectations of an increase in borrowing costs as soon as next week (Reuters).

INTERNET

Brazil tops the list of countries asking Google Inc to remove content from its services, the Internet search company disclosed in a new Web tool — but it said statistics on China are secret (Reuters).

BUILDING OF THE WEEK

The brand new State Administrative City of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

China and Brazil signed a memorandum of understanding which gives both countries direct access to data from the satellites the two countries jointly developed, launched and operated (Xinhua).

Brazil’s government wants domestic financial groups to strengthen business ties with China to lower access costs and tap new sources of revenue in the world’s third largest economy (Reuters).

Brazil delayed for another 60 days trade retaliation against the United States in an attempt to solve a long-standing dispute over U.S. cotton aid (Reuters).

The second meeting of the BRIC member nations, concluded last week after a three-day summit in Brasilia, produced ‘little new to agree upon’. Although progress was muted in Brasilia, many international analysts and diplomats have commented on the newly cohesive and assured tone of the group’s parting statement, demanding a greater say in world governance, particularly within trade administration (The Rio Times).

Is Lula behaving like a world leader? Read the analysis at the Times of India.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva reaffirmed his personal and his administration’s position on Iran’s nuclear program. He said the Islamic state has the right to develop its nuclear program so long as it is for peaceful purposes (Xinhua).

TAX

Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega likes the idea of a tax on banks to pay for future bailouts, but he’s not sure Brazilian banks should have to pay anything. “Maybe it’s necessary mainly in countries that had problems with their financial systems,” Mr. Mantega said (Wall Street Journal).

TOURISM

The annual Travel-business study by the WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council), an organization formed by the most important tourism entrepreneurs in the world, ranked Brazil thirteenth in the list of the biggest economies of the sector, holding the same position as last year (The Rio Times).

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Regional & Travel

In Uncategorized on April 25, 2010 at 2:24 pm

BRASILIA AT 50

The dream was big. In just a few years, Brazil would build a modern capital in the middle of a savanna, an experiment in egalitarianism that would also shift power toward the center of the vast country (Reuters).

Three years before John F Kennedy declared that he too was a Berliner, a Brazilian president made a similarly striking claim: that he was a candango, one of the thousands of poor people who left their homes and families for a better future building the country’s new capital, Brasilia. Read their story at BBC News.

The Senate’s first secretary, senator Heráclito Fortes (DEM-PI), announced on Wednesday (14) the result of a survey by DataSenado, service of Public Opinion, according to which 93.3% of people from Brasília and 84.8% of Brazilians from other cities classified the capital transfer from Rio de Janeiro to Brasília as favorable to the country. 97% of people from Brasília and 89% of Brazilians from other cities are convinced that it was worth it to build the new capital (Brazilian Senate).

AVIATION

The president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, Carlos Arthur Nuzmann, said that the current operating conditions of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo airports will hardly meet the demand for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Both events will be held in Rio and 10,500 athletes from 205 countries will participate in the competitions, which will last for 17 days (Brazilian Senate).

AMAZON

The Belo Monte dam. a huge Amazon hydropower project, shows how hard it is to balance the demands of the environment and of a growing and prospering country (The Economist).

SAO PAULO

The World Bank approved a loan of US$650 million to the government of Sao Paulo for the expansion of the metro network in the Brazilian city (Macauhub).

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

To further develop Brazil Weekly, we’d like to know a tiny bit about our readers. Please take a few seconds to answer following polls:


Business & Economy

In Uncategorized on April 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm

BANKING & FINANCE

Brazilian bank Bradesco and the state-run Banco do Brasil said they had each independently acquired additional stakes in two of Santander Group’s Brazilian subsidiaries (Reuters).

Braskem, Latin America’s largest petrochemical company, plans to sell at least $500 million in 10-year dollar-denominated bonds, taking advantage of a rally in emerging market debt (Reuters).

Standard Chartered said it has obtained final go ahead from the Brazilian Central Bank to begin investment banking operations at its Sao Paulo branch (Reuters).

Banco Cruzeiro do Sul, a Brazilian bank that specializes in consumer credit, offered to sell 428 million reais ($242 million) worth of new and existing stock to replenish the lender’s capital base (Reuters).

Itau Unibanco, Brazil’s largest non-government bank, expects loan delinquencies to increase in the second half of the year as the central bank moves to raise borrowing costs to fight inflation (Reuters).

Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia could bid to purchase the Brazilian securities unit of German lender Commerzbank (Reuters).

Banco do Brasil, Latin America’s largest lender by assets, agreed to buy a controlling stake in Argentina’s Banco Patagonia SA, marking the federally run lender’s first acquisition abroad (Bloomberg).

PETROBRAS

Petrobras may have to find another way to raise capital if a plan isn’t approved by Brazil’s congress by June, Chief Executive Officer Gabrielli said (Bloomberg).

Gabrielli also said that Petrobras will spend at least $75 billion to build 25 new rigs for offshore oil production and storage by 2020 (Bloomberg).

SBM Offshore BV of Rotterdam,  the world’s largest producer of floating oil-production platforms, said there’s a “very good chance” an order valued at as much as $1.5 billion from Petrobras will go ahead (Bloomberg).

The Petrobras Ordinary and Extraordinary General Shareholders’ Meeting elected the new chairman of the Board of Directors of the Company, finance minister Guido Mantega. The shareholders also elected the following people as representatives of the controlling shareholder for a term of one year,: Márcio Zimmermann, José Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo, Francisco Roberto de Albuquerque, Luciano Coutinho, Sergio Quintela Franklin, and Silas Rondeau Cavalcanti Silva. Fabio Colletti Barbosa (common shares) and Jorge Johannpeter (preferred shares) were elected as representatives of the minority shareholders (Brazil Weekly).

MINING

Liberia is in talks with Brazil’s Vale, the world’s top iron ore producer, over a possible concession and expects to make an announcement soon (Reuters).

Brazilian iron ore firm Ferrous Resources Ltd is likely to combine an IPO in London in coming months with selling a stake to a strategic partner as it seeks finance to build its flagship mine (Reuters).

TELECOMS

Spain’s Telefonica is seeking a merger between its fixed-line and mobile businesses in Brazil to help its eroding market share in the country (Reuters).

Brazil’s former state telecommunications monopoly Telebras is winning government support to manage a plan to generalize Internet broadband service (Reuters).

AGRICULTURE

Soybean farmers in Brazil, the world’s second-largest producer of the oilseed, are withholding supplies as a currency rally erodes export profits, leading to a “serious” storage shortage, the head of Latin America’s largest farm cooperative said (Bloomberg).

Farming and cattle raising include all activities that make use of the soil for cultivation of plants and the rearing of livestock. In Brazil, this segment is responsible for 27% of the direct Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 42,5% of total exports (2009) and more than 17 million jobs. In addition, the country participates with 25% of the total world food market (Portal Brasil).

Chinese state company Chongqing Grain group plans to invest US$300 million in the purchase of 100,000 hectares of land in the Brazilian state of Bahia in order to produce soy for the Brazilian and Chinese market (Macauhub).

REAL ESTATE

BR Properties SA said it agreed to buy two real-estate companies from Hines Real Estate Investment Trust Inc. for a total of 182.8 million reais ($104.4 million). BR Properties said it will buy Elouveira do Brasil Projetos Imobiliarios Ltda. and Vinhedo do Brasil Projetos Imobiliarios Ltda (Bloomberg).

Brazil Weekly, April 18th

In Uncategorized on April 18, 2010 at 8:14 pm

POLITICS

Brazil is a country of paradoxes: President Lula embraces free trade, signs military agreements with Washington, is acclaimed as “Statesman of the Year” by the billionaires club at Davos in 2010 and has enriched bankers from Wall Street to the city of London; yet many western and a few Brazilian writers , Fidel Castro and other intellectuals and academics call him a “pragmatic leftist” or “progressive visionary”. Read about the “Two Brazils” in the Eurasia Review.

Brazil’s main opposition candidate, Jose Serra, gained voter support in the October presidential race, widening his lead over the ruling Workers’ Party’s Dilma Rousseff, an opinion poll showed on Saturday (Reuters).

But another poll suggests the two main candidates are in a statistical dead heat (Bloomberg).

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Brazil, Russia, India and China matter individually. But does it make sense to treat the BRICs—or any other combination of emerging powers—as a block? Read the full article at The Economist.

The world’s leading emerging powers found little new to agree on in their summit in Brazil, but their assertive tone in demanding more clout in global financial institutions and setting of a deadline for the reforms shows they are slowly becoming a more potent group (Reuters).

China and Brazil bolstered their growing ties with trade and investment agreements before a summit of the world’s top four emerging markets that was cut back after China’s leader decided to return home to deal with a major earthquake (Reuters).

Brazil may create a fund to finance exports to Iran, even as the threat of more United Nations sanctions against the Islamic republic mounts, Trade Minister Miguel Jorge said (Bloomberg).

The United States and Brazil reached a provisional agreement last week regarding a long-standing dispute over American subsidies to domestic cotton farmers (The Rio Times).

At the conclusion of the fourth India Brazil South Africa Dialogue Forum (Ibsa) summit in Brasília on Thursday, the leaders of the three countries announced that they had agreed to set up a trilateral satellite programme.

DEFENCE

The U.S.-Brazil military accord, which was signed at the Pentagon by Jobim and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, is the first agreement of its kind in more than 30 years between the two countries. The U.S.-Brazil accord contains no provisions related to the use of Brazilian bases. It does promote military exchanges — such as naval ship visits — and cooperation on “the acquisition of defense products and services,” the Pentagon said (Reuters).

Read why Brazil signed a military agreement with the US in the Christian Science Monitor.

ECONOMY

Brazil is studying additional anti-inflationary measures such as tax breaks and lower import tariffs but monetary policy remains the main tool to control prices, Finance Ministry officials said (Reuters).

Brazil’s real, the best performing emerging-market currency in the past year, will surge more than 9 percent by the end of the year even as the central bank seeks to curb gains by purchasing dollars (Bloomberg).

Brazil’s economy will expand 5.5 percent a year in 2011 through 2013 as inflation stays within the central bank’s target of 4.5 percent, according to forecasts made as part of the country’s federal budget (Bloomberg).

BUSINESS

Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual [BTG.UL] will invest in convertible debentures offered by local hospital and laboratory network Rede D’Or (Reuters).

Brazilian Embraer, the world’s third-largest aircraft manufacturer, is looking at producing small passenger jets in Russia, the head of Russia’s VEB bank, a potential partner in the project, told Reuters.

ArcelorMittal’s Brazil investments may include boosting iron ore capacity to 15 million tonnes by 2014/2015, ArcelorMittal Chief Executive Lakshmi Mittal said (Reuters).

Fresh Brazilian beef may be sold in U.S. grocery stores beginning next year for the first time in a decade if the two countries resolve a dispute over cotton, livestock analysts said (Reuters).

CSN, Brazil’s second largest producer of flat steel, will raise domestic prices by as much as 7.5 percent in the second quarter to counter a recent doubling of the cost of iron ore on international markets, Chief Executive Benjamin Steinbruch said (Reuters).

Brazilian construction company Mills Estruturas e Servicos de Engenharia and its shareholders raised 686 million reais ($392 million) in an initial public offering (Reuters).

Brazil’s largest retail group Pao de Acucar said it is in talks to change the terms of its agreed takeover of smaller rival Casas Bahia, which complained that the $2.3 billion deal was unfair (Reuters).

Bramont Montadora e Industrial de Veiculos SA, the seller of Mahindra cars and trucks in Brazil, may offer shares to the public for the first time next year as demand for vehicles in Latin America’s largest economy increases (Bloomberg).

Usiminas Chief Executive OfficerMarco Antonio Castello Branco plans to step down from the position in Brazil’s second largest steelmaker, two years after taking up the role (Bloomberg).

BANKING & FINANCE

Banco do Brasil, Brazil’s largest bank by assets, proposed to shareholders to sell 286 million new common shares as part of a plan to replenish the lender’s capital base (Reuters).

Brazil-based private equity and venture capital funds could raise up to $15 billion from investors by mid-2011, as a growing economy and increased risk taking fuel demand for investments (Reuters).

PORTS

Rotterdam is Brazil’s most important European port with in 2008 an annual throughput of 37.6 million tons of goods (+12% v. 2007, 33.5 mln). By far the most of the cargo is exported by Brazil: 36 (2006 31.7) million tons. The Netherlands rank four in the Brazilian export list, with a share of 5.2% in 2008, after the USA, Argentina and China but before Germany (Port of Rotterdam).

Arabica coffee producers in Brazil, the world’s largest producer and exporter, started harvesting a month earlier than expected after rains and hot weather led beans to mature earlier (Bloomberg).

OIL

Brazilian oil and gas startup OGX is considering selling minority stakes in some of its oil blocks (Reuters).

The Promar Ceará shipyard won the bid to build eight gas tankers under the Transpetro Fleet Modernization and Expansion Program (Promef). The shipyard, which had made the best proposal among competitors, completed its price negotiations with Transpetro. The vessels’ total cost will be $536 million. This order will generate more than 10,000 jobs in Ceará (Petrobras).

The first vessel built under Transpetro’s Fleet Modernization and Expansion Program (Promef) will set sail on May 03 from the Atlântico Sul Shipyard (EAS), in Pernambuco. The event will be attended president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The Suezmax-type vessel is 274 meters long and capable of carrying a million barrels of oil (Petrobras).

Petrobras announces that its wholly-owned subsidiary Petrobras Internacional Braspetro (PIB BV)  has acquired from MEO Australia Ltd 50% of participating interest in the exploratory block WA-360-P, located in the Australian North Carnarvon basin, for the amount of US$ 39.0 million.

INFRASTRUCTURE

A Brazilian court ruled the government will be able to hold an auction next week for the massive Belo Monte dam in the Amazon region, overturning a previous ruling that blocked the tender on environmental grounds (Reuters).

AMAZON

A Brazilian rancher accused of ordering the killing of a U.S.-born nun over an Amazon forest land dispute was sentenced to 30 years in prison, a decision hailed by activists as a rare legal triumph in a typically lawless region (Wall Street Journal).

RIO

Guarded by the Morro de Leme (Mountain of Leme) to the north and surrounded by tropical hills, three favelas and the ocean, the variety of Copacabana’s surroundings have made it a legendary part of Rio’s urban makeup. It is a thriving commercial and residential neighborhood located on a huge, stunning beach which has earned it worldwide fame and a history as colorful as the sights that envelop it. Read the assessment of the area at The Rio Times.

Governor Cabral has decided to allocate R$ 1,26 billion to sanitation, R$ 0,95 billion to urban rail transportation, R$ 300 million to investments in public security, R$ 600 million to secondary roads (see attached release in Portuguese for details). In addition, the Governor will allocate R$ 1 billion to a new housing strategy, the urgency of which was clearly demonstrated by the consequence of recent floods. The remainder will be applied in the strengthening of the public administration (R$ 120 million), environment protection (R$ 250 million) and the reform of Maracana required by the International Soccer Federation–FIFA (R$ 400 million). This investment will reinforce, complement and be part of the preparation for and the legacy of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games to be held in the city of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil Weekly).

Invitation: debate India-Brazil-South Africa

In Uncategorized on April 13, 2010 at 9:53 am

Invitation: Online debate on India-Brazil- South Africa (IBSA) Policy Dialogue Forum

In partnership with the Ideas for Development blog, the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) is launching an online debate that will contribute with inputs for the forthcoming IBSA Academic Forum, which will be hosted by IPC-IG on 12-13 April in Brasilia, Brazil.
We invite you to participate in this discussion and reflect about the following issues:
– What is the role of the emerging countries in shaping world politics?
– How can India, Brazil and South Africa strengthen cooperation in key issues on the global agenda?
– In which ways an improved policy dialogue among developing countries can contribute to the implementation of effective policies towards the achievement of inclusive growth and human development?
Join us at: http://www.ideas4development.org

We also invite you to visit the IBSA Academic Forum website, where you can find interesting papers, resources and breaking news. Visit: http://www.ipc-undp.org/ibsa

Brazil Weekly, April 11th

In Uncategorized on April 12, 2010 at 9:07 am

POLITICS

Brazil’s leading opposition candidate Jose Serra launched his bid for the presidency in October elections, proposing more efficiency, new trade deals and improved public transportation and security. Serra, of the centrist PSDB party, also criticized high taxes in Latin America’s largest economy and accused the current administration of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of turning a blind eye on human rights abuses abroad. The PSDB, the right-wing Democratas, and the Popular Socialist Party declared their support for the veteran politician at an event in the capital Brasilia (Reuters).

Here are some of Serra’s positions on key issues, based on his or his party’s statements and expert views.

ECONOMY

Investment in Brazil should hit 18 percent in 2010, and must stay at multiples of economic expansion to keep the country growing, the president of Brazil’s state development bank, Luciano Coutinho, said (Reuters).

Brazil’s real will surge as much as 10 percent by July as the central bank raises interest rates to stem inflation, spurring purchases by global investors searching for higher yields, forecasts compiled by Bloomberg show.

Brazil’s next government needs to develop the local debt market to help companies finance investment and reduce dependence on the state development bank, said Rio de Janeiro State Finance Secretary Joaquim Levy (Bloomberg).

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Chinese President Hu Jintao will discuss with his Brazilian counterpart Lula da Silva China’s bid to build a bullet-train system in the South American nation during his trip there this week. The 34.6 billion reais ($19.6 billion) project to link by high-speed train the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Campinas is a priority among Chinese government representatives. Lula will reinforce Brazil’s interest in maintaining Embraer operations in China (Bloomberg).

The United States and Brazil have reached an agreement aimed at settling a long-standing trade dispute over American subsidies to cotton growers, officials in both countries said. Under the preliminary deal, Brazil would hold off on retaliation in exchange for American concessions that include the modification of an export loan program and the establishment of a temporary assistance fund for the Brazilian cotton industry (The New York Times).

A flexible currency policy in China “would be very good” for the global economy, Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega said (Reuters).

The U.S. government will encourage China, India, Brazil and other fast-growing markets to buy more American goods as part of its bid to double exports in five years (Reuters).

Mining giant Vale rebuffed allegations by European steel industry body Eurofer that it had abused its position as the dominant iron ore producer. Vale, in a press release, tried to turn the tables on the European iron and steel body, saying it has notified the European Commission about its own concerns that Eurofer members may have breached European competition rules by communicating among themselves to coordinate approaches to the ongoing negotiations with Vale (Reuters).

The request byVale for the European Commission to investigate whether steelmakers colluded in price talks is “absurd,” said Eurofer, a group representing steelmakers in Europe (Bloomberg).

United Nations sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program could make the Islamic Republic more radical and cause its population to revolt, Brazil’s foreign minister said (Reuters).

DEFENCE

Brazil and the United States will sign a defense-cooperation agreement this week, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said (The New York Times).

Brazil’s air force prefers France’s Rafale jet as its next-generation fighter despite the plane’s higher price tag, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said (Reuters).

ECONOMY

On March 29th the Brazilian government announced a new Growth Acceleration Program (PAC2) that will provide R$1.59 trillion (US$880 billion) in infrastructure and public projects as the second phase of the economic stimulus program targeting areas of high social sensitivity such as housing and health. Of that total, R$958 billion will be invested between 2011 and 2014 (Rio Times).

OIL

Petrobras said it found light oil in a new well that confirmed its estimate of 5 billion to 8 billion barrels in the Tupi offshore field (Reuters).

Chinese energy companies will likely participate in bidding for Brazil’s offshore subsalt oil reserves when auctions begin and are already seeking to buy stakes in existing oil projects, a top energy official told Reuters.

Petrobras will start output at the Cachalote offshore field in Brazil this quarter with a 100,000-barrel-a- day vessel upgraded by SBM Offshore N.V.  SBM of Rotterdam, the world’s largest supplier of floating oil platforms, overhauled the Capixaba production, storage and offloading ship for the project (Bloomberg).

OGX, the oil company controlled by billionaire Eike Batista, said results from two sections of an offshore well in Brazil’s Campos Basin show less crude than any of the company’s previous finds (Bloomberg).

ETHANOL

Brazil will cut import tariffs to zero from 20 percent now on ethanol through the end of next year (Bloomberg).

BUSINESS

Embraer, the world’s third-largest aircraft manufacturer, said it sold 41 of its jets in the first quarter of 2010, one more than in the same period a year ago (Reuters).

U.S. agribusiness group Bunge will invest $750 million to expand its three largest cane mills in Brazil (Reuters).

Ford Motor Co unveiled plans to build a small sport utility vehicle in Brazil for global markets, boosting its investment plan in the country over the next five years by 500 million reais ($281.4 million) (Reuters).

Brazil’s JBS SA, the world’s largest beef processor, may raise as much as 2.16 billion reais ($1.23 billion) with the sale of new shares to fund its direct distribution business (Reuters).

OSX Brasil SA’s plan to build a shipyard in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina has met with resistance from a federally owned environmental institute (Bloomberg).

Usiminas, Brazil’s second-largest steelmaker, may spin off its mining unit as soon as this quarter as rising iron-ore prices make a share sale more attractive (Bloomberg).

PORTS

Eike Batisita’s shareholders may benefit most from Chinese President Hu Jintao visit to Brazil this week as the Brazilian billionaire seeks investments for his LLX Logistica Porto Acu project. The Manhattan-sized complex, planned for Rio de Janeiro’s northern coast, will be “a highway to China” and require as much as $50 billion (Bloomberg).

RIO

The new bill to distribute oil revenues among Brazil’s states has revived the rancour that long reigned between Rio and the rest of Brazil. It would be sad if it also derailed Rio’s incipient revival. “Resentment plays into the hands of the worst kind of populism,” says Octavio Amorim Neto, a political scientist at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation. Read the opinion of The Economist.

Preparations to receive millions of tourists during the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic games are already well underway in order to present visitors with a safer, cleaner and more modern Rio (Rio Times).

The death toll from mudslides and flooding in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state has risen to 224, its fire department said about a week after heavy rains began pounding the coastal region (Reuters).

Brazil’s government will replenish the capital base of Eletrobras, the country’s largest power holding company, this year as part of a plan to boost transparency and lure investment into electricity, O Estado de S. Paulo said, citing Treasury Secretary Arno Augustin (Reuters).

MEDIA

Petrobras’ Facts and Data blog was granted the Gold Quill Award by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) as the best social media initiative in 2010. Petrobras’ blog won the award for “Excellence,” the most important of the awards. This is the first time a Brazilian blog gets an award from this prestigious U.S. corporate communications institution, which has 15 thousand professional members from 70 countries the world over. Check out the blog (in Portuguese) here.

TRAVEL

Brazil’s cultural agenda for 2010 in the Wall Street Journal.

Brazil Weekly, April 4th

In Uncategorized on April 2, 2010 at 10:04 am

POLITICS

With each new figure it becomes clearer that Brazil’s brief recession of 2009 was a fall onto a trampoline. The economy is still bouncing upwards: it grew by 2% in the fourth quarter of last year compared with the previous three months, and forecasts are for growth of up to 6% this year. With an election due in October, this is cause for much official self-congratulation. The economy’s new-found resilience has also revived the belief of Brazil’s leaders in the economic role of the state. Read the analysis in The Economist.

The director of economic policy at Brazil’s central bank stepped down. Mario Mesquita, one of the strongest advocates of the central bank’s inflation-targeting regime, left for “personal reasons,” the bank said in a statement (Reuters).

Central Bank President Henrique Meirelles, after deciding to stay in his job and drop a bid for office, said he is “totally dedicated” to slowing inflation in his final nine months atop the bank (Bloomberg).

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva launched a $878 billion program to upgrade Brazil’s infrastructure, setting out a major campaign banner for his chosen candidate in October elections. Investments are earmarked for infrastructure, police, health, education and other sectors (Reuters).

The race to succeed President Lula the most popular leader in the country’s history, began today with the resignation of Jose Serra and Dilma Rousseff, the two frontrunners, from their current jobs (Bloomberg).

New technology will require voters to identify themselves by means of a fingerprint. State governments already keep fingerprint records of any citizen within their jurisdiction that holds a national identity card, and since ID cards are required for almost all aspects of civil life (such as opening a bank account or applying for a job), fingerprints of the majority of the voting population are already on record (Rio Times).

DEFENCE

Brazil wants to be acknowledged as an undisputed regional military superpower (BBC News).

ECONOMY

Brazil’s sovereign debt ratings are “well anchored” and possible upgrades would have to be based on stable economic growth rates, a Standard and Poor’s analyst said. The ratings agency sees no specific factors triggering an immediate change in Brazil’s ratings outlook or an upgrade (Reuters).

For the past century, Brazil has been a land of great potential—but few results. With runaway inflation and stratospheric national debt, the country was too much of a mess for anyone to take it seriously on the world stage. How times have changed (Wall Street Journal).

OIL

China’s No.2 state oil giant Sinopec Group is expected to sign a cooperation pact with Petrobras this month that will likely include a crude oil supply agreement (Reuters).

Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk has agreed to buy a 20 percent stake in an oil exploration licence offshore Brazil from Devon Energy by taking a share of the costs (Reuters).

Petrobras  will not issue preferred stock as it prepares for a capitalization via equity markets, chief financial officer Almir Barbassa said (Reuters).

Petrobras is considering selling international assets to help fund the development of the country’s offshore reserves (Bloomberg).

Petrobras’ CEO, José Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo, is the only Latin American mentioned in the list of the thirty most respected CEOs in the world, published by Barron’s. Gabrielli appears in the list for the second year running (Petrobras).

BUSINESS

Embraer said it had created a new division for commercial aviation, adding to speculation that it is considering building larger planes that would put it in direct competition with Boeing and Airbus (Reuters).

Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista said that others of his companies could sell stocks as the market for initial public offerings heats up in Brazil. Batista’s OSX Brasil raised 2.82 billion reais ($1.58 billion) in an IPO two weeks ago, much less than the original 9.92 billion reais offered, as investors worried about global market conditions and stretched valuations (Reuters).

Hypermarcas, the largest Brazilian multibrand consumer goods maker, sold 1.2 billion reais ($674 million) worth of stock, raising funds for takeovers (Reuters).

MAN SE, Europe’s third-biggest truckmaker, aims to expand to other Latin American markets from a new manufacturing base in Brazil, where the company will introduce a model under its own brand at the end of the year (Bloomberg).

Sugar output in Brazil’s Center South, the world’s largest producing region, will rise 19 percent to a record in the coming season as drier weather boosts yields and new mills come online (Bloomberg).

Transpetro, the Eisa Shipyard, and the National Development Bank (BNDES) signed the financing contracts for the construction of four Panamax-type vessels under the Fleet Modernization and Expansion Program (Promef). The contracts are worth a global amount of R$856 million (Petrobras).

AIR TRAVEL

TAM, Brazil’s largest air carrier, returned to profit in the fourth quarter after a drop in operating and financial expenses and reduced tax payments helped offset a fall in revenue (Reuters).

TAM forecast air-travel growth of 14 percent to 18 percent in its home market (Bloomberg).

Qatar Airways plans to start flights to Brazil and Argentina from June 24 as it expands into South America. The daily flights will link Qatari capital Doha with Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires (Bloomberg).

TRAVEL

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s capital of samba and Carnival, is a city forever defined in people’s imagination by its miles of golden beach that on weekends draw millions of sun-worshippers. Read the Travel Postcard at Reuters.

Paulo Barroso de Barros—a man who has exercised an influential role on São Paulo’s culinary scene since returning from kitchens in France, Italy and the U.S. in 2002, picks his ten favorite dining spots in São Paulo.

AMAZON

A top activist for land reform in the Amazon has been murdered, police said. The killing of the activist, Pedro Alacantara de Souza, came hours after a delay in the trial of a man accused of masterminding the slaying of another rain forest activist, Sister Dorothy Stang, an American nun who was shot and killed in 2005 (New York Times).

RIO

EBX CEO Eike Batista discusses on video why Brazil is valuable to foreigners ar the WSJ’s Invest in Rio conference.

Rio de Janeiro state expects to receive as much as $90 billion in investments in the next three years, Governor Sergio Cabral told investors in New York (Bloomberg).

Rio de Janeiro state plans to sell international bonds “at the right moment,” Finance Secretary Joaquim Levy said. Standard & Poor’s assigned the state government an investment grade BBB- credit rating, the same level as Brazil, citing a “diverse and strong economy” that will benefit from the development of oil reserves (Bloomberg).

Authorities finally caught up with the Macaé drug trafficker Roger Rios Mosqueira, better known as Roupinol, who was killed in a battle with police in the favela Morro São Carlos, in Rio’s Zona Norte. The notorious gangster, considered by authorities to be ultimately responsible for manufacturing and distributing the majority of cocaine in the Rio state region, had been under investigation for more than five years (Rio Times).