Brazil’s unemployment rate: 13.1%

In this week’s issue: The most important facts of the week. Unemployment: only Haiti worse than Brazil. Only three presidential candidates remain truly competitive. Jair Bolsonaro underwent emergency surgery.

The week in review

  • Currency. The USD closed Friday down 0.67%, at BRL 4.16, after reaching its all-time highest nominal level on Thursday (BRL 4.21). The BRL lost 1.72% against the American currency this week, largely due to opinion polls which showed the rise of center-left presidential candidates Ciro Gomes and, especially, Fernando Haddad. Meanwhile, the markets’ favorite, center-right Geraldo Alckmin, seems all but out of contention (more below).
  • Bolsonaro. On Wednesday evening, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro underwent an emergency surgery to repair an obstruction in his small intestine. Mr. Bolsonaro was stabbed in the abdomen while campaigning on Sep.6.
    This setback in his recovery has officially taken him off the campaign trial &#8211; at least until the first round, on Oct.7.</li> <li><strong>Marielle Franco.</strong><strong> </strong>On Friday, the political assassination of <div class="free rcp_restricted 1"><div class="paywall "></div><p> <div class="readmore-cta-block"> <p><strong>Read the full story NOW!</strong></p> <div class="readmore-cta-grid"> <div class="readmore-cta-full"> <a href="" class="button button-green button-full">Start your 7-day free trial</a> </div> <div class="readmore-cta-half"> <a class="button black-text button-full" href="">Login</a> </div> <div class="readmore-cta-half"> <a class="button black-text button-full" href="">Subscribe</a> </div> </div> </div> </p> </div>Marielle Franco completed <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">six months without a resolution</a>. Her political mentor, state lawmaker Marcelo Freixo, said that the police &#8220;is close to pointing out&#8221; the culprits of the crime, after a five-hour deposition.</li> <li><strong>Personal data.</strong><strong> </strong>A court has prohibited ViaQuatro, which runs one of the metro lines of São Paulo, to use cameras to capture the reactions of consumers to different publicity displays &#8211; without the consent of metro users &#8211; and sell these images back to ad agencies. ViaQuatro has 2 days to disconnect the cameras, risking a BRL 50,000/day fine otherwise. The Consumer Defense Institute also wants ViaQuatro to pay BRL 100m in damages.</li> <li><strong>Human Development.</strong><strong> </strong>The UN released its latest Human Development Index on Friday, showing Brazil stagnated in the 79th position out of 189 &#8211; behind Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and even Venezuela. Appalling levels of inequality &#8211; especially <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">between genders</a> &#8211; are one of Brazil&#8217;s major hurdles. Despite having more years of study, women receive 47% of the salaries received by men.</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2>Unemployment: in Latin America, only Haiti has worse numbers</h2> <p>Brazil&#8217;s 12.9% unemployment rate in 2017 was the second-largest in Latin America, only behind Haiti&#8217;s. Brazil&#8217;s numbers are bigger than in regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where an average of 7.7% of people are unemployed. Countries with human development levels on par with Brazil have an average unemployment rate of 6.3%.</p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-24572" src="" alt="Unemployment: in Latin America, only Haiti has worse numbers" width="1200" height="654" srcset=" 1200w, 300w, 768w, 1024w, 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1200px) 100vw, 1200px" /></p> <hr /> <h2>Only three presidential candidates remain truly competitive</h2> <p>On Friday night, Datafolha published its latest presidential poll, showing steep growth from Workers&#8217; Party candidate Fernando Haddad. Late in August, Mr. Haddad had 1% of voting intentions (back then, former president Lula was still listed as the party&#8217;s candidate). Now, he has 13% and is tied for second place with center-left Ciro Gomes.</p> <hr /> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-24573" src="" alt="2018 presidential election" width="1200" height="752" srcset=" 1200w, 300w, 768w, 1024w, 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1200px) 100vw, 1200px" /></p> <hr /> <p>Right now, only three candidates seem to have any chance of winning: Jair Bolsonaro, who has consolidated his lead, Fernando Haddad, who is benefitting from Lula&#8217;s political endorsement, and Ciro Gomes, who runs on the outside lane. Marina Silva, as <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">we predicted in July</a>, is experiencing a drop as election day approaches, and center-right Geraldo Alckmin&#8217;s numbers are almost flatlining.</p> <p>For Mr. Alckmin to have a chance, he would have to rely on pragmatic voters who are put off by Mr. Bolsonaro&#8217;s radical discourse &#8211; and who would never vote for someone in the left. It&#8217;s a narrow path towards the second round. With Brazil&#8217;s center-right broken, he would need everyone who votes for small right-wing candidacies (Alvaro Dias, João Amoêdo, and former Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles) to switch their allegiance to him.</p> <p>On the left, things seem a bit more complicated. A traditional politician from the northeast, Ciro Gomes could prove to be a strong contender for the support of <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Lula&#8217;s voters in the region</a>. Mr. Gomes could also benefit from more left-leaning supporters of Mr. Alckmin, who could vote for him just to prevent the Workers&#8217; Party from reaching the runoff stage. But Fernando Haddad remains the big favorite.</p> <h4>A light at the end of the tunnel?</h4> <p>Brazil came out of the 2014 election as a deeply divided country after a vicious campaign. On one side, Dilma Rousseff accused her opponents of trying to &#8220;take food away from Brazilian tables.&#8221; On the other side of the aisle, the runner-up of the election didn&#8217;t accept the result and, as soon as Ms. Rousseff&#8217;s term began, the opposition did everything to sabotage it &#8211; culminating with the controversial 2016 impeachment.</p> <p>Now, the country&#8217;s two most traditional political forces are giving signs of a truce. On Thursday, former Social Democracy Party chair Tasso Jereissati issued a mea culpa during an interview to the press &#8211; stating that his party made a laundry list of &#8220;memorable mistakes,&#8221; such as calling the 2014 election illegitimate, forcing an economic collapse under Dilma Rousseff, and joining Michel Temer&#8217;s administration.</p> <p>On the same day, former governor of Bahia Jaques Wagner, an influential member of the Workers&#8217; Party, said that he would vote for Geraldo Alckmin if he was to face far-right Jair Bolsonaro. It might not seem like much, due to the unlikelihood of that scenario &#8211; but such a statement would never be given a few years ago.</p> <p>Brazil&#8217;s main political forces have taken the country to the edge of the abyss, but apparently are not willing to jump.

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BY Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist with experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets.