There are plenty of misconceptions about Brazil. Many Brazilians have no interest in football, can’t stand samba and would rather spend the weekend in a shopping centre than on the beach. They certainly don’t speak Spanish. When it comes to the economy, though, perhaps one of the biggest myths about the country is that Brazil has an inflation target of 4.5 per cent.

Officially, the Brazilian central bank’s annual inflation target has been 4.5 per cent ever since 2005. However, in reality, inflation data show Brazil has actually been working with a target closer to 6 per cent for the past few years. Read more

The plot thickens over the choice of Brazil’s next finance minister.

On Thursday, business daily Valor Econômico reported that President Dilma Rousseff had invited Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi, head of the non-government bank Bradesco, to replace Guido Mantega next year. According to the newspaper, Rousseff met with Lázaro Brandão, president of Bradesco’s board, on Tuesday this week to discuss the matter. With Brandão on side, it would make it easier for Trabuco to accept the position and then return to the bank in the future, the daily said. Read more

Brazil’s market has been in a state of mild depression since President Dilma Rousseff was re-elected just over a week ago – only ‘mild’ because many believed Aécio Neves of the business-friendly PSDB party never stood a chance.

However, there is still one topic of conversation guaranteed to raise a hopeful smile or a few extra points on the country’s Bovespa stock index, and that’s Rousseff’s next choice of finance minister. Read more

Like the country’s soap operas, Brazil’s presidential elections have been full of drama, improbable story lines and last-minute cliff hangers. Monday night was no different.

Just as Brazilians were beginning to wonder whether Aécio Neves of the centrist PSDB party could actually win this Sunday’s vote, a Datafolha poll showed President Dilma Rousseff ahead for the first time since the first round of elections on October 5. The results are still too close to call though, falling with the polling firm’s margin of error. Read more

Campaigning for Brazil’s election run-off has begun again and so has the madness, it seems. While there are fewer clowns and footballers vying for votes at this stage, the country’s presidential candidates are already providing plenty of entertainment.

On Thursday, it was President Dilma Rousseff’s turn. On a visit to Brazil’s poorer northeast state of Bahia, home to many black and mixed-race Brazilians, Dilma tried to win over the locals by telling them she, too, was meio pardinha – a complicated concept in Brazil but one that could roughly be translated as “a little bit black”. Read more

It was set to be one of the biggest massacres of Brazil’s election. On Thursday night Guido Mantega, finance minister, went head-to-head with Armínio Fraga, the former central banker who will take his job if Aécio Neves wins the presidency this month.

Mantega certainly has some explaining to do. The economy is expected to grow a measly 0.2 per cent this year, according to Brazil’s latest central bank survey. That is less than much of the developed and developing world. Read more

With just over two weeks to go until Brazil’s election run-off, the country is bracing for one of the most acrimonious political disputes in its history: an almighty battle between the “ghosts of the past” and the “monsters of the present”.

President Dilma Rousseff has warned Brazilians that the opposition will take the country back to the dark days of high unemployment and poverty. “When we take a step forward in life, we need to know how to preserve what we have achieved,” explains one PT party campaign video. “We can’t let the ghosts of the past come back and take everything we’ve worked for.” Read more

If you think you’ve had a tough week, spare a thought for Brazil’s beleaguered political consultants. As Sunday’s presidential election draws closer, they’ve come under increasing pressure from frantic investors to answer the million-dollar question: who will win?

In fact, as Bloomberg points out, it’s actually a billion-dollar question. Since President Dilma Rousseff took office at the beginning of 2011, Brazil’s benchmark stock index has plunged 23 per cent, erasing $300bn of market value. Read more

Shoppers in Brazil in front of a watch store

Type “Latin America” and “booming middle classes” into Google and you will get more than 40,000 results. The rise of millions of Latin Americans out of poverty over the past decade has defined the region socially, politically and economically. It has also made investors rich.

However, as Moody’s explains in a report on Tuesday, the middle class-led consumer “boom” is coming to an end and, for some companies in particular, the results won’t be pretty. Read more

Dilma Rousseff is an impressive woman. Under Brazil’s military dictatorship she was held in prison for three years, where she was beaten, tortured with electric shocks and hung upside down for long periods of time. After rebuilding her life, she was elected the first female president in Brazilian history in 2010, setting an example for generations of women to come.

However, in her first official campaign video ahead of October’s elections this week, Dilma has been reincarnated as a…housewife. Read more

If anyone had any doubts about the political significance of the tragic plane crash that killed presidential candidate Eduardo Campos last week, they only need to see the results of Monday’s Datafolha poll.

Marina Silva, who is set to take over as candidate for the Brazilian Socialist party (PSB), attracted over twice as much support as Mr Campos did before he died and now stands a real chance of winning October’s elections. Read more

Brazil’s humiliating 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semi-finals was bad enough but now it looks like the country’s economy may also be heading for a similarly crushing defeat. While annual inflation is creeping up towards 7 per cent, most economists now forecast GDP growth this year of little more than 1 per cent.

Faced with this gloomy scenario, Brazil’s central bank will have little choice but to do precisely nothing at its interest rate meeting this week. Read more

Luiz Felipe Scolari

Historic humiliation! Historic disgrace! Historic defeat! Worst in 94 years!

The headlines across Brazil’s newspapers on Tuesday night left no doubt: the country’s devastating 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semi-finals will make Brazilians wince for generations.

There was little anger, few accusations and – perhaps surprisingly – barely any mention of Brazil’s absent star player Neymar or the Colombian defender Juan Zúñiga who broke the Brazilian’s back last week and took him out of the tournament. Instead, the mood was solely of utter despair.

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After months of speculation and the world’s longest tightening cycle, it looks like Brazil may finally be done increasing interest rates.

Late on Wednesday, the bank raised Brazil’s Selic rate another 25 basis points to 11 per cent – the highest level in more than two yearsRead more

Imagine you’re Brazil’s central bank president, Alexandre Tombini.

It’s an election year and your boss is Dilma Rousseff. Growth is slowing and high interest rates are boosting debt servicing costs for voters who are up to their eyeballs in debt. Read more