The International Monetary Fund revised up its 2020 economic outlook for Brazil, but warned that risks remain “exceptionally high and multifaceted” and government debt is on course to end the year around 100% of gross domestic product. The IMF now expects Latin America’s largest economy to shrink by 5.8% this year, much less than the 9.1% contraction it had previously estimated, and predicts a “partial” recovery and 2.8% growth next year.
Brazil’s economic growth and fiscal outlook this year are shaping up to be worse than official government forecasts, making a return to austerity and reforms next year all the more pressing, said Treasury Secretary Mansueto Almeida. He added that the public sector primary deficit this year excluding interest payments could reach R$800 billion ($152 billion), or more than 11% of gross domestic product, while the economy is set to shrink around 6-7%.
Seven major European investment firms told Reuters they will divest from beef producers, grains traders and even government bonds in Brazil if they do not see progress in resolving the surging destruction of the Amazon rainforest. The rising threats from investors with more than $2 trillion in assets under management, including Finland-based Nordea and the UK’s Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), show how the private sector is taking global action to protect the world’s largest rainforest.
In Brazil, the Coronavirus crisis has resulted in a delay in the country’s energy generation and transmission auctions (the A-4 and A-6 auctions) that were scheduled for May 2020. This means Brazil’s three-year energy plan has been disrupted and the Ministry of Mines and Energy will have to rework the strategy.
Lockdowns have ravaged the incomes of Brazil’s poor, throwing many of Brazil’s 38 million informal workers into unemployment. “We have more than 30 million informal workers in Brazil that were thrown into extreme poverty overnight because they can’t work during quarantine,” said Kiko Afonso, executive director of Citizens’ Action.
There is a near-unanimous belief among economists that the benefit for the unemployed, the self-employed, and casual workers is crucial to prevent the collapse of millions of families.
A phased plan to reopen Sao Paulo’s economy should be announced today (Wednesday 22 April) by the state government, to be implemented as of May 11th. When the quarantine was extended last week, the Covid-19 Crisis Management Committee began to focus on a plan to determine which sectors and which regions of the State of São Paulo could gradually return to operation.
Brazil exported 9.16 million mt of soybeans in the first three weeks of April, up 28% month on month, according to a report by the Brazilian foreign trade department. Shipments from Brazil rose 14% year on year to 18 million mt in the first quarter of 2020, with almost 74% of them going to China, the trade department said. Analysts said Brazil could export over 12 million mt of soybeans in April.
MiX Telematics has confirmed that one of Brazil’s largest ethanol and sugar producers have appointed the company to assist in modifying driver behaviour and reducing vehicle collisions. The major industry player accounts for 10% of ethanol supply in Brazil; grinding 27 million tons of sugarcane in one harvest year, resulting in the production of 2.1 billion litres of ethanol.
Brazil’s government is discussing with the country’s main airlines further reducing a minimal flight schedule implemented due to the coronavirus crisis as travel demand remains close to zero. A study by Brazil’s government found that there are too many empty or close-to-empty flights in the current schedule. The country’s three main airlines, LATAM, Gol and Azul, are also bleeding cash, like their peers around the world, with most of their fleets grounded.