Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its 2020 Brazilian economic growth outlook to 1.9% from 2.2%, and JP Morgan to 1.8% from 1.9%. Economy Minister Paulo Guedes and other officials have consistently said the government’s economic reforms and record low interest rates will deliver growth this year comfortably above 2%, with Guedes confident of 2.5%. JP Morgan said investment growth this year will now be lower at 5.0%, while exports will fall 0.5% compared with an earlier forecast of 0.5% expansion.
Real’s relentless decline continued on Thursday, falling below 4.50 per dollar for the first time ever. The Brazilian currency ended trading at new closing low of 4.4750 per dollar, meaning it has depreciated by more than 10% in just two months. Brazil’s central bank dipped into the currency derivatives market on Thursday for the fourth time this month, selling $1 billion of swaps contracts following Wednesday’s $500 million sale to slow or even reverse the real’s fall.
Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petrobras said it has started the sale process for its 51% stake in the gas unit Gaspetro and for its stakes in the Merluza and Lagosta oil fields in Brazil’s Santos basin, according to a securities filing. Gaspetro is a holding company owning stakes in 19 firms that operate in the Brazilian gas distribution business.
Brazil’s Agriculture Ministry will allow for agrochemicals awaiting regulatory approval to receive licenses automatically, potentially allowing new pesticides to reach market faster, according to new rules published in the government gazette with effect on April 1. If the ministry fails to review applications for new chemicals to be licensed within 60 days, the products will automatically be approved, although they will still need to receive separate approvals by the Health and Environment Ministries before going on the market.
Brazil tops the list of recipients of agrochemical products classified as “highly dangerous,” accounting for about $3.3 billion in 2018, according to Unearthed, a journalism group funded by Greenpeace UK, and the Swiss NGO Public Eye. The pesticides market is dominated by five companies – Bayer, BASF, Syngenta, FMC and Corteva (formerly Dow and DuPont).
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.
Costa Rica, Uruguay and Brazil, lead the Latin American sustainability ranking prepared by América Economía Intelligence considering seven dimensions: greenhouse gas emissions, energy matrix, biodiversity and forest management, agricultural pollution, water resources management, air quality in urban areas and environmental taxes. Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay are at the end of the list of eleven countries studied.
Brazil presented on Sunday to the financial G20 meeting in Riyadh its ‘Programa Verde Amarelo’ (Yellow Green Program) with which the Jair Bolsonaro government seeks to generate 1.8 million jobs in three years for young people aged 18 to 24. This represents a 2% increase in the employed population and a projected reduction of more than 30% in labour costs for companies, said the Secretary of International Economic Affairs, Erivaldo Gomes, replacing the Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, who did not attend the meeting in Saudi Arabia.
The president of the Swiss bank UBS in Brazil, Sylvia Coutinho, estimates that Brazil “has the largest environmental assets on the planet” and conditions to assume a global role in “green finance.” Capital is looking for these environmental assets, as warned at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and I think the government took note of this message, so we must learn to monetise our environmental assets, she said.
Brazil’s government is trying to fight off a move by some lawmakers to grant the central bank autonomy and force it to target growth as well as inflation. Opposition lower house deputies plan to present an amendment to the autonomy bill that would set an additional target for the central bank – either employment or growth level – alongside its mandate to keep prices stable. The autonomy bill is ready to be put to a vote in the lower house.