Brazil infrastructure

You cannot stay one day in Brazil without hearing someone complain about high taxes and poor public services. According to this narrative, the prices of everything from cars to beauty products are inflated by opaque taxes even as the nation struggles with sub-standard hospitals, inadequate public transport and other services.

Now a study from a consulting company, Brazilian Institute of Planning and Taxation (IBPT), seems to bear out the common perception about Brazil’s tax burden. It ranked Brazil last in a list of the 30 countries judged by taxation versus quality of services. Read more

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, under siege over late preparations for the soccer World Cup that starts in June, at last has something to celebrate.

The first of a series of major infrastructure programmes promised to the Brazilian public as part of the tournament has finally been inaugurated – or at least “the first phase of the first phase” of the project. On Wednesday, Ms Rousseff presided over the opening of a new terminal at the international airport in the capital, Brasília. Read more

Back in January, at what I had hoped was the height of São Paulo’s unusually intense summer heatwave this year, I went out to buy an electric fan. My first four stores had sold out. The fifth was down to its last item. Later, reading the newspapers, it became apparent that this was happening across South America’s largest metropolis.

The heat is one thing. More worrying is that this year it has not been accompanied by the usual late afternoon thunder storms. The result is a water shortage so severe that São Paulo’s main reservoir, the Cantareira System, is full to just 15 per cent of its capacity, its lowest level since records beganRead more

The Arena das Dunas World Cup stadium in Natal, in northeast Brazil shimmers in the late afternoon sun. It looks a bit like a giant silver-plated armadillo or, as one local put it, like a spaceship that’s crash-landed in the middle of the city.

President Dilma Rousseff stopped off here this week, en route to the World Economic Forum in Davos, for the stadium’s inauguration. It has come in on budget, according to the government, at around R$400m, so Rousseff was keen to big it up. Read more

The Brazilian economy may be slowing but that isn’t deterring foreign investors from piling in.

The voracious appetite to invest in Latin America’s largest economy was underscored by the success of Brazil’s airport auction on FridayRead more

Who says sewage treatment can’t be a sweet smelling business?

Certainly not Singapore’s GIC. The city state’s sovereign wealth fund has just struck a deal to invest R$300m ($135m) in Aegea Saneamento e Participações, the water and sewage treatment arm of Grupo Equipav, the Brazilian conglomerate.

“Aegea manages an attractive portfolio of water and sewage concessions in Brazil. We are delighted to have Equipav and IFC as our partners and look forward to working with the shareholders and management to help grow the company,” said Tay Lim Hock, president of GIC Special Investments, in a statement on TuesdayRead more

No one likes Mondays but the government of President Dilma Rousseff will be waking up to the new week with an especially unpleasant headache.

An auction late on Friday of two key toll roads, meant to be a landmark for the country’s nearly R$1,000bn infrastructure programme, did not go so well. That’s bad news for a government that has less than 14 months to prove that it is serious about an issue that was meant to be its raison d’être – lifting Brazil’s lagging rates of investment. Read more

By Nick Robinson of Aberdeen Asset Management

In 365 days’ time the first match of the Fifa World Cup 2014 will be played at the Itaquerão stadium in São Paulo.

Brazil will be hoping to emulate, if not better, both the feel good factor and the legacy left by the 2012 London Olympics. In the immediate aftermath of the games, the UK was propelled out of recession with GDP growth of 0.9 per cent. Read more

One of my first memories of using mobile phones in Brazil was making calls from the top of a mango tree.

This was in the 1990s, a time when cellphones were still relatively rare. And during holidays on the family farm in the middle of the country, that mango tree was the best place to find reception. Read more

Roads in Brazil (top) and India. A fair comparison?

Rankings from the World Economic Forum show Brazil as lagging far behind the Brics countries on almost every aspect of infrastructure – the subject of a beyondbrics Chart of the Week. Er … excuse me? I beg to differ.

Brazil’s infrastructure is poor, even dismal in some cases, but this is more relative to its own needs and its income level as a country with a per capita income level among the Brics second only to Russia. At least in my experience, it is not bad in absolute terms when compared with many other developing countries, particularly those in the poorer parts of Asia, such as India. Read more

It is coming to a town near you – the great Brazilian infrastructure roadshow. Kicked off this week by Finance Minister Guido Mantega in New York, the roadshow aims to raise US$235bn for much-needed bridge, road, railway, port, power plant and airport construction in Latin America’s biggest country. Read more

Brazil’s problems with infrastructure are hardly news. The rise of a new lower middle class numbering more than 100m people is one source of the country’s recent economic miracle. But it has also led to crowded highways and packed flights. Last year, demand for flights increased 7.14 per cent, according to airlines, while the number of seats available rose less than half that. Read more

Brazil’s government knows that if there is a silver bullet to solve the country’s mounting transport infrastructure problem, it is rail. That is why it is pushing with increasing determination a proposal to build not just one but possibly several bullet trains in the country. Read more

Brazilian real notesPresident Dilma Rousseff encouraged markets last year when she decided to invite private sector investors to participate in the overhaul of the nation’s airports.

There was further applause when she announced subsequent infrastructure packages offering companies the chance to participate in concessions to build and operate highways, railways and airportsRead more

Well, they thought it was going to be bad. But not this bad. Consumer price inflation in Brazil was 0.88 per cent in the month to mid-January and 6.02 per cent over the previous 12 months, the IBGE, the national statistics institute, said on Wednesday.

On Monday, the central bank’s weekly survey of market economists showed inflation expectations were creeping up: the consensus for January had risen to 0.81 per cent from 0.78 per cent a week earlier. But Wednesday’s figure was off the chart. Read more

As beyondbrics’ São Paulo team looks out from its office over a city darkened by Apocalypse-like walls of thunder clouds unleashing hail on the commuters below, the nation’s latest challenge seems bizarre to say the least.

A hot, apparently dry, summer is leading to speculation that the nation will have to resort to energy rationing for the first time since 2001. Scant rainfall is drying up the country’s hydropower plants, which provide the bulk of its energy, while increased use of air-conditioners to cope with the heat is sapping whatever output there is.

As a result, Brazil may have to increase usage of its fossil-fuel fired plants. Read more

Brazil’s government is making the right noises. But now for the hard part, how to revive animal spirits?

In the latest move to tackle the country’s competitiveness problems, the government announced a R$54bn ($26bn) investment package in Brazil’s creaking port infrastructure. Read more

You would think that building hotels in Brazil should be a straightforward affair.

With the country set to host the World Cup in 2014 and the summer Olympics in 2016, Embratur, the government’s tourism arm, reckoned it would need to expand hotel capacity by at least 20 per cent to accommodate the expected influx of visitors.

So boom time for hoteliers right? Not exactly, according to Kirk Kinsell, who heads up the Americas division for InterContinental Hotels Group. Read more

Forget Carnaval, Brazil’s championship final or Independence Day – tonight is one of the most important dates in the Brazilian calendar.

Later tonight, millions of viewers around the country will finally find out who killed Max.

It’s the last episode of the hit soap opera, Avenida Brasil, which has gripped about 38m Brazilians over the past few months – that’s about 20 per cent of the population. Read more

Is Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president, a left-wing ideologue, bent on boosting the role of the state, erecting barriers to free trade and treating financial market investors with disdain? Or is she a centre-right liberal, determined to lower interest rates, privatise roads and airports and keep a bloated public sector in check?

Neither, says Ilan Goldfajn, chief economist at Itaú BBA, a Brazilian investment bank. She is a pragmatist, concerned above all with investment, growth and jobs, who has listened to business groups and is acting on their concerns. But will it work? Read more