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Posts Tagged ‘turmoil’

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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Fresh news from Reuters reveal that the Brazilian banks are in extremely good shape, thank you very much…

Brazil’s two largest private-sector banks reported strong third-quarter earnings on Monday and said they would continue to take advantage of the current market turmoil to snap up loan portfolios from smaller rivals in distress.

Banco Bradesco (BBDC4.SA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Banco Itau (ITAU4.SA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) sought to allay concerns that they might be vulnerable to the recent devaluation of the Brazilian real BRBY against the U.S. dollar by disclosing their exposure to foreign currency derivatives.

Both banks have benefited from surging demand for consumer loans in Brazil’s fast-growing economy at a time when the global credit crunch has pummeled financial firms from the United States to Europe.

Strong loan growth helped Bradesco (BBD.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the top private-sector bank in Brazil, post a 3.2 percent increase in third-quarter net profit to 1.91 billion reais ($823.3 million).

Itau (ITU.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) was not scheduled to report earnings until Nov. 4 but rushed out its results because of the turmoil in financial markets. It posted a quarterly profit of 1.8 billion reais ($775.9 million), up 14.6 percent from a year earlier.

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Excellente article from the Financial Times:

At Fábio Marangoni’s printing works in São Paulo, pages of glossy magazines emerge almost silently from modern printing presses imported from Germany.

Asked how much he borrowed to install the presses, Mr Marangoni replies with an air of self-satisfaction.

“Nothing,” he says. “We used our own capital.” His family-owned business will be 50 years old next year. “During that time we’ve seen the currency go wildly up and down. Our raw materials and machinery are priced in dollars, so we’ve always taken care to use our own money. It means we have grown more slowly than otherwise. But it’s worth it. Look what’s happening now.”

Mr Marangoni’s caution has not shielded him entirely from the chaos in the world’s financial system. Credit conditions have tightened and consumers and businesses are putting spending plans on hold.

Nevertheless, Brazil should emerge relatively unscathed. Economists who previously expected growth of between 4.5 and 5.5 per cent next year now expect between 2.5 and 3.5 per cent – by no means bad compared with the global outlook.

Not all companies have been as conservative as Mr Marangoni’s. Grupo Votorantim, an industrial conglomerate, said on Friday it had paid R$2.2bn ($958m) to liquidate positions in currency derivatives. It was the third large company to announce big losses on currency bets and is unlikely to be the last.

Local media are talking of “the Brazilian subprime”. Some observers expect to see bankruptcies as more exporters are forced to admit that they exposed themselves beyond sensible limits to currency contracts that worked in their favour during the real’s long rally from R$3.95 to the US dollar in October 2002 to R$1.56 in May this year but which turned against them during its subsequent fall.

On the whole, however, Brazilian companies are much less indebted than their foreign competitors. The total amount of credit in Brazil was equal to 38 per cent of gross domestic product in August, much less than in many developed countries. where credit reaches multiples of GDP.

Economists and business leaders have long been calling on the government to enact spending reforms to release more money to finance investment and consumption through credit. There has indeed been a consumer-led acceleration of growth in the past few years, as lower interest rates, rising employment and enduring economic stability have encouraged borrowing.

Read the article in full here.

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Asked about the current global financial meltdown, Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, answered: “What crisis?”. This was not a dismissive response. It was a fact. Brazil rock-solid stability protected the country against the turmoil. As a Reuters news report has rightly remarked, commodity-rich and with $ 200 billion in foreign reserves Brazil has proved it has done its homework.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of biofuels, including ethanol. But it is not only the high price of commodities which is sustaining the Brazilian economy. The country’s financial system has lower debt, a respectable fiscal policy and a central bank with more autonomy than many others in West Europe. If this wasn’t enough, Brazil became a net creditor this year a direct consequence from amassing more reserves than foreign debt.

Another proof of Brazil’s economical strength came today with a record jobless rates, published by Bloomberg News:

Unemployment in Brazil’s six largest metropolitan areas fell to 7.6 percent last month, down from down from 8.1 percent in July, the national statistics agency said today. The jobless rate was lower than the median forecast of 8 percent in a Bloomberg survey of 19 economists. Brazil’s companies have been adding jobs at a record pace, fueling a surge in income that contributed to second-quarter economic growth of 6.1 percent.

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