Corpus Christi is marked by São Paulo's March for Jesus

Brazil celebrates Corpus Christi today. During this long, 4-day holiday, business and politics take a pause in the country. That’s why we’re you’re receiving the Weekly Report on Thursday, instead of the usual Saturday edition. But don’t worry—our newsroom will continue publishing new content on our website, and we’ll keep you up to date if anything newsworthy happens!

The week in review

Moro. Justice Minister Sergio Moro spoke before the Senate about the private messages leaked by The Intercept, showing his proximity with prosecutors while serving as Operation Car Wash’s main judge. His strategy consisted of calling the reports “sensationalist” (he did it 52 times), and equating all criticism to an opposition of the anti-corruption probe. While Mr. Moro didn’t manage to bury the case, he certainly wasn’t buried by it. Only new, more powerful revelations could knock him off his perch, it seems.

</span></p> <p><b>Odebrecht.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Once Latin America&#8217;s largest construction group, Odebrecht filed for court-supervised reorganization. The company&#8217;s debts amount to BRL 98.5bn—a third of which cannot be renegotiated, as it is owed to companies of the group itself. Odebrecht&#8217;s rise was made possible by its intimate—and often corrupt—relationship with governments of all political stripes. But after Operation Car Wash, the group lost contracts, fired 80% of its staff, and is one step away from bankruptcy.</span></p> <p><b>BNDES. </b><span style="font-weight: 400;">After being publicly called out by President Jair Bolsonaro, Joaquim Levy resigned as president of Brazil&#8217;s National Development Bank (BNDES). He was replaced by Gustavo Montezano, a 38-year-old former partner at investment bank BTG Pactual—who served as Deputy Secretary of Privatizations. His priorities will be paying the bank&#8217;s debt to the government and accelerating its divestments plan.</span></p> <p><b>Gun control.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> In a 47-28 vote, the Senate floor repealed President Bolsonaro&#8217;s decrees to loosen gun control laws in Brazil. The decrees will only truly be dismissed if the lower house follows suit—although there has been no indication when or if this may happen. Mr. Bolsonaro pleaded to the House, asking it to preserve &#8220;Brazilians&#8217; right to self-defense.&#8221; Experts, however, praised the decision, saying the Senate showed independence on a matter that impacts the lives of millions. </span></p> <p><b>Pension reform. </b><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the pension reform currently awaiting approval in the House&#8217;s special committee, Speaker Rodrigo Maia is reportedly planning a sly maneuver to ensure the bill may be voted on the House floor before Congress&#8217; July 17 recess. Next week, the corridors of Brasilia are usually empty, with a number of politicians from the Northeast and North going back to their constituencies to take part in traditional Festa Junina celebrations. In order to move the reform along, Mr. Maia is planning to kick all northern and north-eastern representatives out of the special committee, substituting them with members from other regions, and calling a vote to approve the bill. It remains to be seen how such an underhanded tactic would be received.</span></p> <hr> <h2>Stock market at record levels</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For the first time in history, the Brazilian stock market has closed a trading day above the 100,000-base-point mark, after a 0.9% rise on Wednesday—propelled by news that the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled toward cutting interest rates if the U.S.-China trade war intensified. Economists, however, say that the Ibovespa index can only keep the pace if Congress moves the pension reform forward—pushing GDP growth expectations for 2020 to around 2%.</span></p> <hr> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-19510" src="" alt="brazil stock market" width="1200" height="800" srcset=" 1200w, 300w, 768w, 1024w, 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1200px) 100vw, 1200px" /></p> <hr> <h2>Markets</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Approving the pension reform in Congress seems to be the only thing preventing further cuts to Brazil&#8217;s Selic benchmark interest rate. On Wednesday, the Central Bank held the rate at 6.5%, despite well-behaved inflation and a sluggish economy. The bank&#8217;s monetary policy committee said, however, the continuity of the government&#8217;s reform agenda is &#8220;essential&#8221; for a new round of cuts. According to the Focus Report, a weekly survey with top-rated investment firms, analysts are betting on a 5.75% Selic rate at the end of the year.</span></p> <p><b><i>Natália Scalzaretto, TBR markets reporter</i></b></p> <hr> <h2>Corpus Christi: a holiday for God and LGBTQ pride</h2> <div id="attachment_19511" style="width: 1010px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-19511" class="size-full wp-image-19511" src="" alt="Corpus Christi is marked by São Paulo's March for Jesus" width="1000" height="669" srcset=" 1000w, 300w, 768w, 610w" sizes="(max-width: 1000px) 100vw, 1000px" /><p id="caption-attachment-19511" class="wp-caption-text">Corpus Christi is marked by São Paulo&#8217;s March for Jesus</p></div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brazilians celebrate Corpus Christi today, a holiday in honor of the blood and body of Jesus Christ. The date falls 60 days after Easter and is a tradition brought by Portuguese colonizers that has endured until today. For the past quarter of a century, the date is synonymous with the March for Jesus, one of the biggest Christian events on Earth. But the Corpus Christi holiday is also marked by São Paulo&#8217;s LGBTQ Pride Parade—one of the world&#8217;s largest.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Today, we take a look at these two segments of society—Evangelical Christians and the LGBTQ community—which represent a gold mine for businesses wanting to target a niche audience.</span></p> <h4>The gospel market in Brazil</h4> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brazilians commonly say that, when times are hard, comfort can come from prayer. Many businesses take that literally, and have gambled on the gospel market to survive Brazil&#8217;s economic crisis. In 40 years, Evangelicals have gone from being 4% of Brazilians to 22%—and next year&#8217;s Census should put them in the low 30s. It almost seems wrong to talk about Evangelicals being a &#8220;niche market,&#8221; as they amount to an estimated 60m people—almost the entire population of France.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to data from 2018, the gospel market raises around BRL 21bn per year in music, fashion, food, tourism services, or financial services specifically targeting Evangelicals. There are even God-fearing sex shops dotted around Brazil. This segment also creates 2m jobs, according to the Brazilian Association of Evangelical Companies and Professionals.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Music accounts for 10% of the market—with artists counting on fan loyalty to avoid piracy and continue to sell platinum albums in a time when few people continue to buy CDs and DVDs. In 2010, Sony opened a label for gospel artists, and Globo&#8217;s Som Livre studio has created a festival for the genre.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The tech market for Evangelicals is also one to be explored. From dating apps for Christians seeking someone to marry, from Bible study to gospel-only music streaming services, the amount of Evangelical tech companies is booming in Brazil.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In August, a platform called &#8220;Reino&#8221; (Kingdom, in Portuguese) will be launched to connect Evangelical entrepreneurs. The idea is &#8220;to create an ecosystem of Christian businesses,&#8221; somewhere churches and their congregation can look for finding suppliers. </span></p> <p><script src="" type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8"></script></p> <h4>Brazil&#8217;s pink money</h4> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to Out Now, a consultancy company, Brazil is the 2nd-largest LGBTQ market in the world. According to the LGBT 2030 report, LGBTQ tourism alone raises around BRL 100 billion each year. Despite this data, the Jair Bolsonaro administration has </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">scrapped LGBTQ tourism </span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">as one of the goals in Brazil&#8217;s plan to boost tourism.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Every year, there is potentially BRL 420 billion in “pink money”—the term used to refer to the purchasing power of the LGBTQ community— circulating around the country, according to Out Leadership, an international association of companies which develops initiatives for the LGBTQ population.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brazil has no less than 180 pride parades every year—with São Paulo’s event alone attracting roughly 3 million tourists and generating over BRL 190 million in revenue for the city every June. Brazil’s worldwide image as a gay-friendly destination has pushed LGBTQ tourism up by 11% in 2017—as opposed to a 3.5% overall growth for the industry. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Same-sex couples are disproportionately DINKs—”double income, no kids”—and LGBTQ tourists spend an average of three times more per capita than their heterosexual counterparts. They travel an average of four times per year and spend twice as long on vacation than is standard. According to data from the U.S. Department of State, 87% of this population use travel agencies to plan and execute their trips.

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Weekly ReportJun 20, 2019

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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.