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Posts Tagged ‘Latin America’

Unlike in the rest of the world, sales in Brazil are going up, showing the economic resilience of South America’s largest economy. Sales in September raised 9.4 percent, particularly on IT and computers. Check below a report from The Miami Herald today.

Brazil’s retail sales rose more than economists forecast in September, a sign that consumer demand in Latin America’s biggest economy remained resilient as the global credit crisis began to deepen. Retail sales jumped 9.4 percent in September from a year ago, pushed by a 51 percent surge in computer sales, the national statistics agency said Tuesday.

The increase beat 20 of 28 estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists, whose median forecast was 8.8 percent. Sales growth was less than the 9.9 percent increase in August. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, seeking to build on consumer demand growth, is using state banks to boost lending to carmakers, home builders and consumers and meet an economic growth target of 3.7 percent next year. Economists such as WestLB’s Roberto Padovani in Sao Paulo said the September sales report is a sign that consumer sentiment was holding steady.

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The Seattle Times was yesterday full of praises for Brazil’s leading position as a major economy. Tyler Bridges talks about Saturday’s G-20 summit in Washington and how President Lula is trying to convince G7 countries leaders to give a bigger say to developing countries.  The idea is to create a permanent G14, including Brazil, Russia, China, Mexico and India. It goes on to justify Brazil’s larger ambitions:

With the world’s 10th-biggest economy, Brazil has surpassed the United States as the biggest producer of iron ore and coffee. It’s become the world’s biggest exporter of beef, poultry, biofuels and orange-juice concentrate, and is rapidly gaining in soybeans, corn and pork.

Brazil also has accumulated $200 billion in foreign reserves, almost as much as the rest of Latin America combined. That money will help cushion the global meltdown. Now, Brazil wants to be recognized for its fiscal track record and to avoid the risks that come with a global economic crisis.

“Brazil has new standing in the world,” said Rubens Barbosa, a private consultant in Brazil who’s served as the ambassador to the United States. “We think we can contribute more.” Quietly, Brazil already has become the most powerful country in Latin America.

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Here’s a quick news round up, about the largest merger in the Brazilian banking history. Itau and Unibanco have announced a joint-venture yesterday creating the largest bank in Latin America – arguably the first major banking player in Latin America – combining about $260 billion in assets. The new Itau-Unibanco has also already announced investments in Mexico, Colombia and Peru. The press in Brazil has welcomed the merger, seen as a good timing to make the country’s financial system more solid to face tough times.

From The Wall Street Journal: “Brazil’s central bank recently announced a $50 billion program of currency swaps to keep financial institutions operating amid the credit squeeze. “This concentration will help strengthen the local financial system,” Finance Minister Guido Mantega told reporters in Brasilia.”

Washington Post: The banks did not give a value for their all-stock transaction, but Sao Paulo-based consultancy Economatica estimated the combined banks would have a market value of $41.3 billion, eclipsing Brazil’s state-owned Banco Brasil and the publicly traded Banco Bradesco.

Financial Times: “This operation takes place at a time of great changes and opportunities in the world, particularly in the financial sector,” they said, adding that Brazil’s banking industry was “in a privileged position, with enormous potential to improve its situation even more in relation to the rest of the world”.

The New York Times: “Whoever says the entire world needs to deleverage hasn’t paid attention to what’s happening in Brazil. Banco Itaú’s $15 billion takeover of a rival, Unibanco, should change that. The deal, announced Monday, creates Latin America’s biggest financial institution, which may become one of the few bright spots in the global banking firmament.”

AFP: “Together, Itau and Unibanco will have assets of 575 billion reais (265 billion dollars) and account for around 20 percent of Brazil’s savings accounts and credit. According to Fortune magazine, Itau made two billion dollars in profits last year from 29 billion dollars in revenues and 168.6 billion dollars in assets. Itau Unibanco would have a “strong international presence,” notably in the countries in the Mercosur trade bloc that comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, it said.

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