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Israel and Brazil are locked in a diplomatic spat after Latin America’s biggest country issued a statement condemning Benjamin Netanyahu’s government for using “disproportional” force in Gaza but failed to mention the role of Hamas in the conflict.

An Israeli spokesperson called Brazil a diplomatic dwarf and described it as irrelevant in terms of international diplomacy. Continue reading »

Until recently, common wisdom on Brazil’s presidential election was overwhelmingly that it was president Dilma Rousseff’s to lose.

Now, however, the signs that the incumbent may have to scramble to avoid having a second-term slip from her grasp are coming harder and faster. Continue reading »

Brazilian inflation broke the upper bound of the government’s target range in the first half of July, reaching an annual rate of 6.51 per cent according to the statistics office IBGE. It looks set to stay high until the country’s elections in October, putting further pressure on the candidacy of Dilma Rousseff, seeking re-election as president.

The half-monthly figures presented by the IBGE are not seasonally adjusted. But Neil Shearing at Capital Economics reckons they show a clear tendency to take annual inflation to 6.6 per cent for the full month, up from 6.5 per cent in June. Continue reading »

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. Continue reading »

After the excruciating manner with which the seleção, Brazil’s national team, was ejected from the World Cup this week, the mood in the country has changed.

As the final looms on Sunday, Brazilians are beginning to reflect on the lessons from the event, with plenty of food for thought. One of the less savoury messages is what the event has told us about the distorted image of Brazil abroad in terms of women and sex. Continue reading »

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.

 Continue reading »

As Joe Leahy reported at the weekend, the back injury suffered on Friday by Neymar, Brazil’s star striker, is unlikely to hurt President Dilma Rousseff in her bid for re-election in October. She may even benefit, as the nation bonds together in grief or – there is, after all, still a chance – in celebration.

But Rousseff should forget Neymar. Come October, Brazilians will likely be much more worried about the economy. And here, Rousseff has plenty to fear. Continue reading »

Fears that Brazil’s infrastructure would be overwhelmed have so far proven overblown. There have been some flight cancellations, poor communications at some games and other problems, but the FT’s Brazil bureau chief Joseph Leahy reports that generally things have gone smoothly

In the months leading up to the World Cup, Brazilians became accustomed to muttering “imagina na Copa” or “imagine this happening during the World Cup” in response to every type of annoyance, irritation or problem facing the country, such as bad transportation, crime etc. The idea expressed their horror at how foreigners visiting the country for the World Cup would cope when confronted with the same issues.

In a country which generally loves foreign visitors but in many of whose cities “gringos” – as they are called – are normally not a particularly common sight, this apprehension grew out of proportion. “Imagine”, for example, how the gringos would react when reading a menu and coming across the phrase “against the Brazilian beef”, a literal translation of the Portuguese name of a certain cut of steak, contra filé brasileiro. Continue reading »

Grupo Lala, which controls about half of Mexico’s dairy market, has been running a World Cup promotion to give consumers the chance to win tickets to Brazil. Now, it seems, it could have been eyeing Latin America’s biggest market itself.

According to Bloomberg, Lala is keen to buy BRF’s (Brazil Food) dairy business in Brazil, which the company has reportedly been hawking to potential buyers. Continue reading »

The mood in Brazil has no doubt brightened after Monday night’s convincing win over Cameroon in the World Cup. On that showing, Brazilians will have plenty to cheer about over the next few weeks. At some point, however, they face the morning after.

A survey to be published tomorrow by LatAm Confidential, a research service at the FT, shows consumer confidence sinking to its lowest level since the survey began in February 2012. It follows a central bank survey of market economists on Monday in which the consensus on growth fell to a new low. After so much flair on the pitch, many Brazilians will be left wondering why the spark has gone out of their economy. Continue reading »

Ten days after the start of the World Cup, there is no doubt about where Brazilians’ loyalties lie. On days when the seleção – the national team – is playing, São Paulo comes alive with people wearing yellow and green jerseys and the streets are filled with the deafening blasts of gas-powered horns typically used by football supporters.

After Brazilians staged massive protests last year during the Confederations Cup, the dress rehearsal for the World Cup, the country had put on hold any excitement over the main event. Demonstrations this year against government spending on the World Cup, allegedly at the expense of social services, turned ever more violent and many began to question whether Brazil was still the country of soccer. Continue reading »

Anything less than being crowned World Cup champions for the sixth time would be received like a national disaster by many Brazilians. What the glory of victory – or ignominy of defeat – on home turf means for investors in the country is less clear.

Much turns on politics. With a presidential election looming in October, instincts suggest that the seleção (the national team) lifting the trophy on July 13 could – at least temporarily – unite the country to the advantage of centre-left incumbent Dilma Roussef, whose popularity has been on the wane. Continue reading »

Will the consensus on Brazil’s economy never bottom out? For the third week in a row, market economists have cut their outlook for GDP growth this year, to 1.24 per cent, according to a central bank survey. That’s down from 1.44 per cent last week and 1.62 per cent four weeks ago.

The consensus for next year is down, too, to 1.73 per cent, from 1.8 per cent last week and 2 per cent four weeks ago. Continue reading »

By Samuel George of the Bertelsmann Foundation

When the presidents of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru meet on June 19 and 20 for the ninth Pacific Alliance summit in Nayarit, Mexico, they’ll likely debate a proposal that could transform their quietly successful pact while boosting Latin American unity.

At the urging of Chile’s Michelle Bachelet, the gathering is expected to broach the potential integration of the Alliance, which was formed among the four countries in 2012, and Mercosur, an older grouping that includes the regional heavyweights of Brazil and Argentina. The issue would represent a crossroads for the Alliance, however, since Mercosur does not generally share the enthusiasm for international trade shown by its neighbours on the Pacific coast. Continue reading »