Brazil Economy Update: Highest Industrial Output Since ’95

March 5, 2010

Brazil’s January industrial output data showed the strongest growth year-on-year for that month since 1995, signaling a continuing strong recovery.

Industrial output in January compared to January last year ramped up 16.0% higher, according to data from the Brazilian Census Bureau, or IBGE released Thursday.

IBGE said Brazil’s industrial production was now back to a level last seen in January 2008.
Analysts polled by the Estado news agency expected a 16.30% rise year-on-year with their forecasts ranging between 14.70% and 18.60%.

January’s 16% increase was the highest since 1995 when output leapt 16.9%, IBGE’s coordinator for industry, Andre Macedo said.

More indicative of Brazil’s recovery was January’s industrial output comparison with December, which rose 1.1%, exactly in line with market forecasts.

IBGE data showed an 8.6% leap in the production of consumer durables in January compared to December, but also a massive 36.4% increase on the year-on-year figure.

Capital goods production slipped 0.1% in the month-on-month comparison but was 12.8% higher on the year-ago month.

Within the capital goods segment, Brazil’s booming construction equipment sub-sector, was outstanding with a 202.6% expansion.

Brazil’s auto sector led the way in influencing January’s rise in industrial output, accounting for 41.4% of the overall figure.

According to IBGE amid other industries showing the best performance in January were metal products, up 12% and electrical and communications equipment, which jumped 14.3%.

Brazil’s January output rise followed two negative months of growth interrupting ten consecutive monthly increases.

January’s increase wiped out the impact of the two previous months’ negative performance, IBGE said in a statement.

During 2009 Brazil’s industrial growth declined 7.4% compared to a rise of 3.1% in 2008.

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The Argentina Oil Conflict: Why it’s not the Next Brazil

March 5, 2010

The recent diplomatic battle between Argentina and Britain over drilling for oil off the coast of the Falkland Islands/ Malvinas has opened wounds nearly three decades old for many Argentines. Political analysts and energy consultants also claim that post-war sentiments isn’t the only reason for Argentina’s troubles, and that perhaps many problems may be the country’s government’s own making.

While many Argentines feel embarrassed over the failed war with the British over the Falklands/ Malvinas in 1982, and consequently feel embarrassment over Britain’s claim of ownership over the oil, it appears that many are resigned to the situation. Argentina is already envious of Brazil’s huge oil discoveries over the past three years, and this is just another blow to the country’s spirit. An October poll by Ibaro metro consultancy found about 80% of respondents thought Argentina’s claim on the islands was important.

Argentina’s leftist President Cristina Kirchner has denounced Britain before the U.N. and other international forums, and diplomatic tensions between the two countries have risen to perhaps the highest level since the war. Although anger has been expressed, neither President Kirchner nor any other government representative has mentioned that no oil-drilling rigs are operating in Argentina’s own expansive waters, largely because many oil companies are wary of working in Argentina these days, analysts say. Furthermore, neither country has given up on its sovereignty claims, and a rig for a British company arrived off the Falklands/ Malvinas this week to begin drilling.

Polls show Argentines weary of Mrs. Kirchner’s autocratic style and populist economic policies. In the last year alone, her government has nationalized the country’s largest airline, seized billions of dollars in private pension funds and now is trying to tap more than $6.5 billion in currency reserves to pay long-overdue foreign debt. Argentina also has a system of export taxes that has kept domestic oil prices low, and that has dissuaded some of the larger oil companies from investing in offshore exploration.

Energy consultants say that because Argentina doesn’t have stable rules and prices that make offshore investment profitable, companies are exploring other geological regions. Analysts agree that there are very few companies exploring the Argentine sea, and that there should be a lot more.

President Kirchner’s government has claimed the British have violated Argentine sovereignty and threatened to make life tough for oil ships passing through Argentine waters. Argentina also complains the British government does not have the right to unilaterally exploit resources in the “disputed” waters around the Falklands/ Malvinas without first consulting or obtaining approval from Argentina’s government.

Its neighbors have defended Argentina’s claims. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil criticized the United Nations on Tuesday for not forcing the British to negotiate.

Argentina has been producing oil for more than a century but has not found anywhere near the billions of barrels of oil that Brazil and its foreign partners have discovered around Rio de Janeiro since 2007. Brazil has become an huge economic power, partly due to the recent oil discoveries, and mostly in part to it’s government’s policies.

For relocation to Rio, visit Rent in Rio.

Brazil’s Real Skyrockets?

February 26, 2010

(and the GDP too?)

Brazil’s real is set for the biggest gain in the world this month as economic growth accelerates and the central bank prepares to raise benchmark borrowing costs to curb inflation.

The real rose 5.1 percent this month to 1.8038 per dollar as of 12:40 p.m. New York time, from 1.8950 on January 29. The advance, which reverses much of last month’s 7.9 percent plunge, is the largest among all currencies tracked by Bloomberg. The real will gain to 1.72 by year-end, according to the median forecast of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“Brazil is still a solid story, and the real is an attractive currency,” said Vitali Meschoulam, an emerging- market strategist at Morgan Stanley in New York, who forecasts the real will rise to stronger than 1.7 this year. “The economy is the fastest growing in Latin America. It is among the first to raise interest rates and the strong foreign direct investment dynamics hasn’t changed.”

The real advanced as traders raise their bets that policy makers will boost the key borrowing costs from a record low of 8.75 percent as soon as next month to curb inflation. The central bank this week required lenders to deposit an additional 71 billion reais ($39 billion) to withdraw economic stimulus as a broader measure of inflation that includes wholesale prices quickened to the fastest in 19 months.

Interest Rates
Yields on interest rate future contracts due January 2011, the most traded on Sao Paulo’s BM&F exchange, increased two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point to 10.43 percent, up from 10.27 percent on Feb. 19. That rate suggests traders anticipate the central bank will push the benchmark rate to above 12 percent by year-end.

The real earlier rose as much as 1.4 percent to 1.7989, its strongest level since January 20 on a closing basis, as some investors in the currency futures market closed positions betting against the real.

The real’s gain this month pares its losses this year to 3.2 percent. The currency tumbled 8 percent in January in its biggest slump since October 2008 as China, the biggest buyer of Brazilian exports, curbed bank lending to slow the economy.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. recommended clients this month buy the real, saying that growth in Latin America’s biggest economy will lure foreign investment.

Foreign Direct Investment
The $1.6 trillion economy will expand 5.5 percent this year, up from 0.5 percent growth last year, according to a central bank survey of about 100 economists published February 22.
Foreign direct investment will jump 73 percent to $45 billion, matching the record in 2008, as the country builds houses, roads and stadiums for the 2014 World Cup soccer games and 2016 Olympics.

Growth indicators suggest “the current account deficit will be easily financed through foreign investment,” said Jose Francisco de Lima Goncalves, chief economist at Banco Fator SA.
Brazil’s credit rating may be reviewed for an increase by Moody’s Investors Service next year if President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s successor continues to improve the country’s debt indicators, the ratings company said yesterday.

Moody’s raised Brazil’s long-term debt rating to Baa3, the lowest investment grade, from Ba1 in September, following similar moves by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings a year earlier. Moody’s has a positive outlook on the rating.

Savory South American Cuisine

February 26, 2010

Visits to South America provide travelers with the opportunity to sample a wide choice of delicious cuisine. It is important to make every meal throughout your journey culinary event in itself.

The entertainment capital of Brazil, Rio is home to several distinctive cooking styles for which Brazil is probably best known. In the cultural melting pot that is Rio, one can taste the influence of not only Amerindian and Portuguese foods, but the cooking styles of immigrants from many other parts of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. For more information on Brazilian cuisine visit one of our most popular sites, indeed, one of the most popular sites for South American food on the Internet, by clicking this link.

If you desire a real Brazilian meal with the masses we recommend “comida a quilo” restaurants (literally “food by the kilo”). These are inexpensive dining options commonplace in most cities. Food is paid for by weight and customers usually assemble the dishes of their choice from a large buffet. If you desire a slightly higher class, but nevertheless authentic, palate pleaser we suggest dining at a churrascaria, a Brazilian or Portuguese steak house. Churrasco is a distinctly South American style rotisserie, a sort of Latin American barbecue. It owes its origins to the fireside roasts of the gauchos (natives to southern Brazil traditionally from the Pampa region). Passadors (meat waiters) come to your table with knives and a skewer, on which are speared various kinds of local meat.

The cuisine of Uruguay has its own version of churrasco known as asado. This Uruguayan barbecue is one of the most exquisite and famous in the world. The national obsession of Uruguay is dulce de leche, a sweet paste which is used to fill cookies, cakes, pancakes, and other South American pastries such as milhojas (a puff pastry), and alfajores (a filled layer cake). Our friends in other cities of call such as Buenos Aires tell us not to miss out on the tantalizing traditional drink, mate, an herbal tea commonly known as the “drink of friendship,” made with the infusion of the dried leaves and twigs of the yerba mate plant. So with a drink of friendship in hand, soak up the beautiful sites, enchanting sounds, aromatic smells, and delicious tastes as you travel through South America.

-Jennifer Bunin

Rio Oil Rush: Relocation and Real Estate

February 19, 2010

With the recent oil rush in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro has emerged as one of the most sought after destinations for corporate relocation. However, relocation in any case always involves lots of time, energy and money in finalizing a suitable apartment alone. The demand for rental apartments and corporate relocation agencies in Rio is soaring high. Even the corporate relocation agencies are doing their best to offer state-of-the-art-facilities to their customers and be visible in their business. One such agency, with an office in New York City, which has carved a niche for itself in catering the rental apartments in Rio, is Rent In Rio. 

“Our relocation specialists will assist you in every step of the whole relocation procedure: finding suitable schools for the children, Portuguese lessons for the family, to hiring a car for yourself whilst you are getting to know our marvelous city. Our agency will also gladly assist you in finding suitable temporary or long term accommodation and will walk you through all the necessary paperwork and documentation that is required,” says Daniel Babush, President of Rent in Rio.com. “ We have Studios, 1,2,3,4 and 5 Bedroom apartments as well as penthouses. We can assist with temporary and long-term rentals whether furnished or unfurnished. We have successfully relocated numerous employees from oil companies, the diplomatic community and other blue chip companies.” Babush says.

Rodrigo de Azeredo Santos, head of Brazil’s Trade Promotion Programs Division of the Ministry of External Relations has said in an interview that Brazilian oil reserves, biofuels and availability of hydroelectric power generation are added guarantees that Brazilian property investment is safer due to the assurance that energy will be available to sustain the economic growth. The oil discoveries are so important for property investors in Brazil as similar oil boom in Dubai and Norway have regularly seen their property market post record price increases annually.

Brazil’s property market is now in good shape for overseas investors. According to Jose C. Santiago, licensed and certified attorney of law in Brazil in his portal LawOfficeInBrazil.com has stated that the country is a buyer’s market, with low prices because there are more homes for sale than there are buyers. The demand for property in Brazil is expected to increase by approximately 900,000 units each year.

Overseas investors looking for good property returns with relatively low-entry costs may consider investing in Brazil following the oil discovery, which may strengthen the country’s economy and in turn raise property prices. Business week has reported that Brazil is a smart place to invest. It is a self-reliant country on the energy front, a position that has been further strengthened by the recent discovery of new oil fields.

Unidos da Tijuca Wins Rio de Janeiro Carnival

February 19, 2010

Samba school Unidos da Tijuca is the Champion of the Special Group Parade in Rio de Janeiro Carnival 2010. The school, one of the oldest in Brazil, won their last title in 1936. Their parade was themed “It’s a Secret” and also granted talented carnavalesco (Carnival director) Paulo Barros his first title. Barros had already made his mark in Rio de Janeiro Carnival with ideas such as the DNA float in the same Unidos da Tijuca in 2004. The theme was suggested to Carnival director Paulo Barros by a teenage boy on social networking website Orkut, and explored mysteries that have intrigued people through history.

The parade started with a bang. The Comissão de Frente, or Abre-Alas – a group of no more than 15 people who open the parade with choreographies that sum up each samba school’s theme – developed a series of moves based on illusionism (watch a video on G1).

This year’s parade entirely engaging and enjoyable. The crowd at the Sambódromo participated with elation, and joyously watched the spectacle. The meticulously rehearsed choreography of the abre-alas (opening section) deserved all the praise it received. On Tuesday, the school was awarded the Gold Banner (Estandarte de Ouro), an indication that the samba school had a good chance to be the champion.

Brazil Oil Update

February 12, 2010

Brazil OGX sees up to 900 million barrels in OGX-3 well

Brazilian oil start-up OGX (OGXP3.SA) said Wednesday it estimated recoverable oil reserves from its OGX-3 well at 500 million to 900 million barrels.

This is OGX’s second announcement of drilling tests from its offshore wells this week. On Monday, it said recoverable reserves from drilling at the OGX-4 well were seen at 100 million to 200 million barrels.

The OGX-3 well in the BM-C-41 concessionary block in the Campos basin off Rio de Janeiro’s coast has a productive potential of 3,000 barrels a day (bpd), the company said in a market filing.

The vertical well is depth reached 4,084 meters to carbonate rock layers. The sour to medium grade crude from the well is ranked at 19 to 20 degrees on the API scale.

For those in the oil industry looking to relocate to Brazil, contact Rent in Rio.

Recbeat 2010 in Recife

February 12, 2010
Céu

Céu

From February 13th to the 16th, Recife will host Recbeat 2010. This huge, free festival will again bring pop and alternative rhythms to the land of frevo and maracatu.

In celebrating its 15th edition, the festival has Brazilian singer Céu (photo) as one of the top attractions. Local bands and international guests will also be performing. See the list of featured artists on the Recbeat website. Recbeat will be at Cais da Alfândega. For accommodations, visit RentinRio.com.

For the Best of Rio’s Nightlife, Head to Lapa

February 8, 2010

Lapa Breaks Through

In recent years, Lapa has exploded as the hip place to go for vibrant nightlife. On either end of the Lapa night scene are unique nightclubs, Carioca de Gema and Rio Scenarium. Carioca de Gema is a renaissance of the downtown of Rio in one of its hippest posts. In these clubs, 19th and 18th century architecture meets Rio’s cool, artsy crowd. The streets are lined with sidewalk cafes where cariocas gather for hours to indulge in chi chi chi (banter and chatter). The district’s street parties are among the most famous of Rio’s party attractions, and crowds gather in droves Thursday through Saturday from around 10 am until 4 or 5 pm as a celebration of what it is to be a carioca. Partiers will wander from street bar to street bar, enjoying the music and the unique vibes of the city. Between the clubs and the street parties, the district comes alive with thousands of Generation X cariocas out for a good time, a couple of caipirinhas, and a lot of paquera (flirting). You’ll find all sorts of entertainment lining the streets—from rock bands and hip hop to samba circles, the parties encompass all aspects of carioca culture. Cariocas recognize Lapa as the site where samba was reborn. Away from the often jading middle-class nightlife, the streets of Lapa come alive with music of local musicians who have resurrected a lost art.

Lapa Aqueduct

“When the people rent my apartments ask where to head for nightlife I always tell them: On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays it’s Lapa,” says Dan Babush, President of RentinRio.com. “There’s something with great music for everyone—from Gen X to Gen Y to Boomers. A couple of caipirinhas and you samba without a care and everyone will be teaching you new steps.”

“Rio Scenarium is particularly interesting,” says Dan, “as it is loaded with old antiques that are not for sale, paintings from years before, and three floors where you can wander around amazing artifacts from Rio’s past, along with one of the best samba scenes in Rio.”

Ideally, Lapa deserves three nights: One night for the Rio Scenarium area; one night for Deco do Rato, an area which is excellent to bop around (have the taxi drop you in front of Theatro Odisséia); and one night for Lapa 40° on Rua do Riachuelo, the hot new place for samba. Rio Scenarium is a great place for Boomers and Gen Xers to experience samba. Next door to Rio Scenarium is Santo Scenarium, a more Gen X and Gen Y club that plays less samba and has more of a new beat. Boomers will also like Estrela da Lapa and Carioca da Gema—but there is something for everyone in Lapa and it will take no time to find it.

Chris Nogueiro, writer of Rio for Partiers, says, “Lapa is something that happened out of nowhere. Out of a completely dead area and dead scene grew a particularly hot expression of Rio’s carefree way of being. And it stuck. Lapa is on its way towards being a world-class nightspot area.”

A Hidden Historical Haven

Among all the vibrant neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro, Lapa has held on to an aura of historical soul and the vibrant spontaneity of parties untouched by commercial tourism. One of the hidden treasures of a Brazil, Lapa is a small, gorgeous district once known as the “Montmartre of the Tropics.” The town is centered on the Largo da Lapa, a picturesque plaza of architecture which barely survived centuries of intermittent periods of progress and civil unrest. One of Lapa’s most famous attractions is the Carioca aqueduct, also known as the Arcos da Lapa, a remarkable structure built in the mid-18th century by colonial authorities. Since the end of the 19th century, the aqueduct has served as a bridge for a tram that connects the city center with the Santa Teresa neighborhood. Another famous historical site is the Passeio Público, Brazil’s oldest public park. Built in 1779 to glorify the new colonial capital, the park is also one of the oldest public parks in the Americas. During the 20th century, the whole historical center of Rio—including the Passeio Público —fell into decay. In 2001 the city’s municipal government began a project to renovate the park and restore its historic beauty.

There’s little to recommend in Lapa during the day, except for the Escada de Selaron and the antique stores on the Rio de Lavradio (great turn-of-the-20th century antiques at really low prices can be found there). When the party dies down, visitors can walk to the Lapa staircase (Escada Selaron) and view the work of Chilean painter Selaron. Since 1983, when the 215 steps were covered in blue, green and yellow tiles (the colors of the Brazilian flag), the artist has constantly changed them to include contributions from more than 60 countries around the world. Selaron calls the stairway his “great madness” and claims he will never stop working on it until the day he dies.

-Jennifer Bunin

Official Olinda Carnival Guide 2010 Now Available Online

February 8, 2010

Olinda has a seemingly endless amount of Carnival events, so to help you organize your Carnival schedule, programs are listed by day in the newly launched Olinda Carnival Guide 2010! Just click on “Programação”.

To the right of the homepage, you have can search using the “buscar” box if you have a specific group you would like to stick with. The search result will yield the full list of events for that day. Take advantage of this useful resource to make this Carnival even more wonderful than the last!

Go to RentinRio.com for Carnival accommodations!