A Brazilian government test has confirmed the first case of coronavirus in Latin America, after a Sao Paulo hospital flagged the possible infection of a 61-year-old who had visited Lombardy, in northern Italy. The diagnosis comes during Brazil’s carnival holiday, a peak time for domestic travel when millions of revellers throng major cities for boisterous street celebrations. Sao Paulo stock market, which has been closed since last week, is set to open at 1 p.m. local time. Brazilian shares in exchange-traded funds in New York have dropped nearly 6% this week.
The extended holiday is expected to generate R$8 billion ($2bn) billion in tourism-related activities this year, estimates the National Confederation of Goods, Services, and Tourism (CNC). If confirmed, the turnover represents a one percent real increase over the same period last year and the highest figure since 2015. According to the CNC, “the gradual rebound of economic activity”, low inflation and a stronger dollar against Brazilian real should favour a greater inflow of tourists.
Leading global wind power producer Iberdrola posted a 13% net profit increase in 2019, meeting its broad growth target. Powering more than 30 million homes and businesses in Spain, the United States, Brazil and Britain brought Iberdrola a net profit of 3.41 billion euros ($3.7 billion) in the period. Iberdrola’s shares have risen around 20% so far this year and were up 0.5% on Wednesday morning.
Worries about the spread of coronavirus and its potential impact on the global economy pushed down the index for Brazilian shares in exchange-traded funds on the New York stock market on Tuesday. Around 5:20pm local time, iShares MSCI Brazil , an index fund, or ETF, for Brazilian stocks traded in New York, slipped 1.2% to 39.84 points, while the Dow Jones Brazil Titans 20 ADR, which combines the main Brazilian ADRs, fell 2% to 20,711.20 points. Trading at the Sao Paulo stock exchange is expected to resume at 1pm local time after being closed Monday and Tuesday for Brazil’s Carnival holiday.
After an arbitration hearing, around 21,000 workers at Brazil’s state-owned oil giant Petrobras (a third of total workforce) have ended a strike of nearly three weeks that left the firm scrambling to avoid a drop in production. Labor unions said they were protesting the closure of a fertiliser plant in the southern state of Parana, with around 1,000 total layoffs. Petrobras said the strike did not affect production thanks to the hiring of outsourced labour.