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. Continue reading »
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. Continue reading »
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. Continue reading »
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. Continue reading »
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. Continue reading »
President 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 airports. Continue reading »
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. Continue reading »
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. Continue reading »
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. Continue reading »
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. Continue reading »
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. Continue reading »
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? Continue reading »
In Brazil, the new buzz word is “infrastructure”. Optimism is building around an area that has long been seen as a Brazil’s Achilles’ Heel.
The excitement stems from two things – falling interest rates that, if they can be sustained, should lead investors to seek longer term instruments in which to put their money to work, principally infrastructure.
And the second is a string of government announcements on the sale of infrastructure concessions. We have just had a R$133bn commitment to new roads, in the next couple of weeks similar announcements are expected on ports and airports. Continue reading »
Brazil currently deserves its initial in the Brics acronym, and not just because it lost the Olympics football final to Mexico. Its economic performance is also a “B”. Growth is limping along at less than 2 per cent. Only two years ago, Brazil was scoring A-grades with a 7.5 per cent growth rate.
Hence the much-hyped stimulus package, with its centrepiece reportedly some R$100bn ($50bn) of infrastructure concessions, to be announced later on Wednesday. President Dilma Rousseff, a technocrat to her fingertips, wants to improve her grades. As ever, though, the package’s big number spells both good and bad news. Continue reading »
Judging from Brazil’s Twitter feeds on Thursday, there is little doubt about the general public’s reaction to the brawl breaking out in the telecoms industry.
Late on Wednesday Brazil’s telecoms regulator Anatel banned three of the biggest mobile phone operators (Claro, TIM and Oi) from selling new plans in selected states until they improved their services. Continue reading »