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Last year, during the Belgian economical mission we were present at the launch of Rio Negocios, the Investment Promotion Agency of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Last week, the results of the first year of operations were announced: 186 companies passed through the Investment Promotion Agency, investing a total of 750 million R$.

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Today was the opening day of the world Economic Forum Latin America 2011, which is taking place in Rio de Janeiro.

I especially enjoyed listening to Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer of WPP, the world leading advertising agency.
You can hear the man’s vision on Latin America in an ever more globalized world form 0:20:50 on.

You can follow the life stream tomorrow here.

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The Wall Street Journal published last Thursday this piece on the ever-increasing currency wars.
Brazilian finance minister Guido Manteiga was extremely direct towards the United States:
“The main culprit is the lagging behind of the recovery by the advanced countries and this prompts them to practice monetary policies that are much too expansive,” Mantega said. “While the advanced countries are not totally recovered from the crisis, we’ll have a dispute for markets, particularly for manufactured goods,” Mantega said. Companies should be able to hedge their currency exposure, but derivatives volumes are well above transaction levels, which “is speculation, it’s not hedging,” Mantega said.

The smart players are using this  moment to import machinery and set up local production in Brazil:
1. Apple and Foxcon announced they are setting up an assembly plant in Sao Paulo for the production of iPhones, iPads and Apple Powerbooks.  Currently an iPhone cost double the price of what it costs in Europe, which didn’t prevent 400.000 Brazilians form buying one in Brazil.  Imagine what the market potential is with local production.  The exact financial taxation of the Apple products assembled in Brazil are still being discussed, at this very moment Dilma is in China and has a visit to Foxcon’s CEO Terry Gou on her agenda.  Assembly in Brazil could start as from November on.

2. BMW announced last week that it is studying an assembly plant in Brazil.  Just a matter of time then before Audi follows-suit.

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Obama in Brazil

March 18th, 2011 - no responses

Obama left to Brazil, he’ll arrive in Brasilia tomorrow morning.
Initially Obama would speech for tens of thousands of Brazilians, like he did in Germany in 2008, but the plans changed, he’ll now speech in the Teatro Municipal for 2200 persons.  Obama will surely have a hectic week leaving the US for 5 full days, with the crisis in Libia and Japan on his head, he’s already being criticized back home.
But after this  article Obama wrote himself in the USA Today, the press went somewhat milder on him like here on CNN.
CNN also has a feature on the favellas Obama will visit (actually, Cidade de Deus, yes, the one of the movie).

It’s clear that Obama’s visit is not altruistic, the man wants to export to Brazil and latin America, quoting his words:

Nearly 600 million people live in Latin America. The region’s economy grew by about 6% last year. Between 2010 and 2015, it’s expected to grow by one-third. And as these markets are growing, so is their demand for goods and services — goods and services that, as president, I want to see made in the United States of America.
In 1990, Brazil was the 16th largest market for our goods. Last year, it was the eighth largest. In 2010, our exportsto Brazil grew by more than 30% to just over $50 billion, supporting more than 250,000 jobs here at home.

Again Europe is loosing out bigtime !

And also the Brazilians know why Obama is coming to Brazil: petrol and exports.  This poll clearly shows Brazil is not stupid and will dance Samba with Obama:

More on his visit the coming days.
Meanwhile this excellent article in The New York Times is wortwhile reading.

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Stability keeps powering the Brazilian growth after Dilma took the reigns firm over from Lula.
Tourism incomes in 2011 will raise to R$ 129,6 billion in 2011, growing 4,8% compared to 2010 and representing 3,3 of Brazil’s GDP.

Even Infraero, the state-owned company managing the 67 main airports in Brazil made a profit  of R$ 234 million in 2010, surprising for a company known for… not being all that efficient.  Things might change for the good with the planned 9 billion R$ of investments in airport upgrades until 2014.

In the first 10 days of March, US$ 2 billion of investments entered the country, totaling US$ 24,43 billion, almost the same volume as the 26,00 US$ for the complete 2010 year.

An overview of some main invetsments in 2011:

Petrbras will invest R$ 96 billion, Vale US$ 24 and Braskem, the petrochemic branc of Odebrecht R$ 1,6 billion (production of eco-friendly plastic made from sugar-cane).

Gerdau, the steel producer, will invest R$ 10,8 billion until 2015, OI, the telco company R$ 6 billion this year (the double of last year), Bradesco (the bank) will invest R$ 5 billion in upgrading its agencies and expansion of its reach, Fiat will invest R$ 7 billion in new production lines.  All in 2011.

Some 2011-2014 revenue growth figures of industries:
The revenue of Petrbras will grow 84% (13% per year), chemic industry 78% (12,3% per year), paper & cellulos 52% (8,7% per year), car industry 31% (5,6% per year), electronics 48% (8,2% per year), textile & confection 39% (6,8% per year):

And the figures on the much-needed infrastrcuture upgrades: investments 2011-2014 compared to the 2006-2009 investments:
1. Logistics: 134% more than in 2006-2009
2. Railways: 200% more than in 2006-2009
3. Highways: 71% more than in 2006-2009
4. Ports: 225% more than in 2006-2009

Happily surprised to see that 60 billion R$ will be invested in railways versus the 51 billion R$ in highways.

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