Numbers of the week: Sep. 21, 2019

. Sep 21, 2019
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This is Brazil by the Numbers, a weekly digest of the most interesting figures tucked inside the latest news about Brazil. Random numbers that help explain what is going on in Brazil. This week: oil, lottery, impeachment, football. And more.

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4.39 percent

On the first day of trading

after the drone strike on a major Saudi oil processing plant, stocks of Brazil&#8217;s state-owned oil company Petrobras <a href="">shot up 4.39 percent</a> on Monday. A spike in Brent oil prices (the biggest intraday increase in history) raised expectations that Petrobras would decide to alter its pricing policy. This was later denied by President Jair Bolsonaro and the state-owned firm, but on Wednesday Petrobras confirmed it would increase the price of diesel in refineries by 4.5 percent, causing gains in share prices to level out. Over the week, Petrobras stock increases added up to 1.08 percent. Experts believe that the increase in fuel costs at gas stations following the rise in international oil prices will be roughly 0.9 percent in Rio de Janeiro and 1.1 percent in São Paulo.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>2 Freudian slips</h2> <p>During an <a href="">appearance</a> on round-table interview show &#8220;Roda Viva&#8221; on Monday night, former President <a href="">Michel Temer</a> <em>twice</em> referred to the impeachment process against his predecessor Dilma Rousseff as “the coup.” However, he denied his involvement in the process. &#8220;People said &#8216;Temer is a coup-monger and that I supported the coup … I never supported or worked towards the coup.&#8221; The former president also pointed out that local press leaked a phone call between him and fellow former President Lula, in which the Workers&#8217; Party leader tried to convince <a href="">Mr. Temer’s party</a> to join the opposition against the impeachment.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>5.5 percent a year</h2> <p>Brazil’s Central Bank lowered the Selic benchmark interest rate from 6 to 5.5 percent a year, the lowest level it has ever reached since the country established inflation targets in 1999. In basic terms, the drop has made credit more affordable, which could then lead to companies increasing investments and consumers spending more. <strong>The Brazilian Report</strong>&#8216;s market correspondent Natália Scalzaretto highlighted that the rate drop could lead to a <a href="">boom in corporate bonds</a>, with public bonds becoming less and less profitable. Economists consulted by the Central Bank&#8217;s Focus Report expect the rate to drop to 5 percent by the end of the year, while major bank Bradesco is predicting cuts to 4.75 percent.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>22 percent of Brazilians</h2> <p>According to a recent survey by respected pollster Datafolha, 22 percent of the population do not support any of Brazil&#8217;s <a href="">football clubs</a>. The most popular side was<a href=""> Flamengo</a>, supported by one-fifth of the country—a fanbase corresponding to around 40 million people. The fact that the &#8220;no club&#8221; segment outstripped any other team goes against Brazil&#8217;s mythical image as being &#8220;the land of football.&#8221;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>63 pesticides</h2> <p>On Tuesday, 63 <a href="">pesticides</a> were cleared for use in Brazil by the Ministry of Agriculture, taking the total for 2019 up to <a href="">353 products</a>. Only one of the pesticides licensed this week is classed as &#8220;low toxicity,&#8221; with the remaining 62 being &#8220;extremely, highly or moderately&#8221; toxic. The news comes in the same week that prosecutors in Santa Catarina released a study showing the death of 50 million bees in January as a result of increased pesticide use. Bees are a crucial <a href="">pollination agent</a> and Santa Catarina is Brazil&#8217;s leading producer of honey for export.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>BRL 120 million</h2> <p>A lottery syndicate made up of 49 employees and advisors of the center-left <a href="">Workers&#8217; Party</a> won the jackpot in the national lottery draw on Wednesday night. The total prize added up to BRL 120 million, meaning each member of the pool will walk away with roughly BRL 2.5 million. The lottery is administered by the state-owned <a href="">Caixa Econômica Federal</a>, which means that the Jair Bolsonaro government will indirectly be forced to make out a sizeable check to its political enemies. The news became the topic of jokes in the House of Representatives, with libertarian congressman <a href="">Kim Kataguiri </a>asking whether the party “would socialize the money,” to which Speaker <a href="">Rodrigo Maia</a> retorted that Mr. Kataguiri “must be liberal in everything, not just other people’s money.”</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>19,040 ads</h2> <p>Website <em>Poder360</em> has calculated that Brazilian TV watchers will be subjected to 19,040 political ads in the first six months 2020. Next year, voters go to the polls for municipal elections and new campaigning rules approved by Congress allow for shorter and more regular political broadcasts on Brazilian television sets. Twenty-one parties will have the right to 30-second slots on national and regional television networks, varying in number depending on the number of representatives the party managed to elect in last year&#8217;s election. The package of electoral laws approved by members of Congress loosens a number of campaign spending requirements for political parties, and even opens a loophole to allow ineligible candidates to be elected.

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Euan Marshall

Originally from Scotland, Euan Marshall is a journalist who ditched his kilt and bagpipes for a caipirinha and a football in 2011, when he traded Glasgow for São Paulo. Specializing in Brazilian soccer, politics and the connection between the two, he authored a comprehensive history of Brazilian soccer entitled “A to Zico: An Alphabet of Brazilian Football.”

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