Numbers of the week: Jan. 11, 2020

. Jan 11, 2020
Brazil by the Numbers oil bolsonaro energy bhp country risk marielle poverty rio currency amazon paraisópolis xp 2019 inflation nazi imf coronavirus carnival

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: inflation, gun violence in Rio, a mysterious poisoning, industrial performance, and the “Brazil price tag.”

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4.31-percent inflation

Propelled by meat prices

—which have increased due to growing demand from China—Brazil&#8217;s official inflation rate for 2019 closed at 4.31 percent, above both market predictions (4.13% percent) and the government&#8217;s target (4.25 percent).</p> <p>One worrisome piece of data for the government is the hike in fuel prices:</p> <ul><li>Ethanol: 9.85 percent;</li><li>Diesel: 5.85 percent;</li><li>Gasoline: 4.03 percent.</li></ul> <div class="flourish-embed" data-src="visualisation/1216534"></div><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script> <p>The government is worried that more expensive fuel could spark a new truckers’ strike, in the molds of the one that halted Brazil for 11 days in 2018.</p> <p>The 2019 inflation is the highest annual rate since 2016, when it reached 6.29 percent. However, despite being above the target, inflation remained within the government&#8217;s target band of between 2.75 and 5.75 percent.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>1 child killed by a stray bullet</h2> <p>Eight-year-old Anna Carolina de Souza Neves was killed by a stray bullet while sitting in the living room of her home in Belford Roxo, a poor city in Greater Rio de Janeiro. Police say that no operation was being carried out in the region, but neighbors heard gunshots just before the girl was hit. In 2019, six kids were killed by stray bullets in Rio de Janeiro. Like Anna Carolina, most of them were black, and all lived in poor areas. Most cases happened when the police were present—and investigations have not been concluded.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>66,000 possibly contaminated beer bottles</h2> <p>A “mysterious syndrome” has contaminated at least nine people—killing one—in Belo Horizonte, the capital city of the state of Minas Gerais. They suffered from diarrhea, nausea, and kidney failure. All victims were males aged between 23 and 76 living in the same area. Health authorities discovered all of them had drunk a craft beer called Belorizontina, and found they had been contaminated by Diethylene glycol (DEG), a practically odorless, poisonous, and widely used solvent. </p> <p>Preliminary studies by the police indicate that 66,000 bottles of Belorizontina were possibly contaminated with DEG—and all nine individuals had drunk bottles from these batches. Police say it remains too soon to hold the brewer liable for the poisoning, but Belorizontina owners Backer have already begun a recall of all bottles from the suspected lots.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Down 1.1 percent</h2> <p>Economic indicators signal a rough path ahead for <a href="https://brazilian.report/money/2019/04/15/brazilian-industry-shrinking/">Brazil&#8217;s manufacturing sector</a>, with experts forecasting a 1.1-percent fall in 2019. Data released by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics shows that the country&#8217;s industry had a terrible month in November, with an output 1.2 percent lower than the previous month. The main lowlight was the food sector, which was down 3.3 percent despite a heated meat sector, propelled by growing Chinese demand for pork and poultry. Still, economists project better results for 2020, with the sector expecting to grow anywhere between 2 and 3 percent.</p> <div class="flourish-embed" data-src="visualisation/1216614"></div><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>6 percent more expensive</h2> <p>Brazil continues to be one of the most expensive countries to buy clothes, according to the so-called “Zara Index,” created by investment bank BTG Pactual. Analysts compare the brand&#8217;s prices in U.S. stores to those in other countries. In Brazil, items cost 6 percent more than those in American stores—the biggest gap among 47 countries.&nbsp;</p> <div class="flourish-embed" data-src="visualisation/1216701"></div><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script> <p>However, when the data is adjusted according to <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/updates/purchasing-power-parity-ppp/">purchasing power parity</a>—a popular metric used by macroeconomic analysts to compare real purchasing power between different currencies—the gap in Brazil is lower than in Russia, Turkey, and India. Taxes on retail clothing companies may account for 20 to 35 percent of an item&#8217;s price. Levies on imported clothes are at 35 percent, almost double the global average of 18 percent.</p> <p>“The fragmented nature of the Brazilian apparel industry makes it quite challenging for players that do not have a national established supply chain structure to prevail,” wrote BTG Pactual analysts Luiz Guanais and Gabriel Savi.

 
Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist, Gustavo has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. He has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets and founded The Brazilian Report in 2017. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

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