Monday, April 25, 2011

[Videos] CNBC Spotlights Brazil

Looks like CNBC will be spotlighting Brazil this week in a series of stories and videos, with reporter MCC.  Thought I'd highlight it for those interested as this is definitely one of the most exciting countries on the globe right for both economic and investment reasons.

Three stories out today on this topic

1) Traffic Jams Boost Helicopter Traffic in Brazil - story here.  Video below

There are more registered helicopters in Sao Paulo than any other city in the world; 593 to be exact, surpassing New York and Tokyo in just the last five years.  The key reason — traffic is horrendous.  Unlike New York City and Los Angeles, where there are very few places to land a helicopter, in Sao Paulo there are hundreds of helipads atop the many skyscrapers.

Brazil's strong growth lead to record car sales last year, and in some months monthly sales are rising 30% year over year. But road construction has not kept pace. Add to that high levels of crime, which make sitting in traffic particularly risky.

2) As Brazil's Economy Grows, So Does its Geopolitical Ambition - story here. Video below

China had the Olympic Games, South Africa had the World Cup.  Brazil will soon host both — within two years of each other.  After a century of a coffee economy, the 20th century brought revolution, protectionism, an economic miracle amid a series of military juntas, a debt crisis, a decade of hyperinflation and the impeachment of a civil president.

"In the past, Brazil's reach has always exceeded its grasp," says Eric Farnsworth...and a former Clinton administration official. "It always saw itself as a leader, but has been frustrated that the world saw it another way. The Brazilian economy is developing to the point where it does have the global heft that people have to take it seriously."

That development has already brought a quadrupling of GDP since 1993 to $2.09 trillion, right before the 1994 introduction of the now famous Real Plan, a group of measures meant to snuff out inflation and stabilize the economy.
China's hunger for commodities has pushed it past the U.S. as Brazil's biggest trade partner. (Some 12.5 percent of Brazil's exports go to China, vs. 10.5 percent for the U.S., according to the CIA World Factbook.) 

3) Brazil's Rising Inflation Hampers Growth - story here

As the U.S. Federal Reserve moves closer to winding down some of its extraordinary easing, in Brazil, the impact of easy money policies in the developed world is felt every day.  Brazil has been battling rising inflation and this past week raised interest rates another notch to 12 percent, as inflation reached 6.44 percent. 

“This liquidity is going to continue from one to two years, so we have to be inventive and control external flows of capital and inflation. Exchange rates cripple the country, but inflation kills,” said one government official in a recent interview in Sao Paulo.

For average Brazilians, the price of success has meant a rapid rise in housing and food prices. Food costs have jumped an estimated 10 percent in the past year, and apartments in Sao Paulo’s nicest neighborhoods have risen 40 to 50 percent.

An estimated 35.7 million people entered the middle class and 20.5 million people moved above the poverty line between 2003 and 2009, according to Banco do Brasil. The amount of Brazilians living in absolute poverty has fallen to 15.3 percent from 28.1 percent in 2003.


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