Numbers of the week: Feb. 8, 2020

. Feb 08, 2020
minister deaths war covid-19 Brazil by the Numbers oil bolsonaro energy bhp country risk marielle poverty rio currency amazon paraisópolis xp 2019 inflation nazi imf coronavirus carnival Iron ore femicides coronavirus deaths

This is Brazil by the Numbers, a weekly digest of the most interesting figures tucked inside the latest news about Brazil. A selection of numbers that help explain what is going on in Brazil. This week: the lowest monthly inflation for January since 1994, suspected cases of coronavirus, carnival profits, the extradition of a convicted killer, books being censored and the unhappiness of Brazilians.

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0.21-percent inflation 

Brazil’s official inflation rate in January was

0.21 percent, the lowest for the month since the Brazilian Real was adopted as the national currency in 1994. The numbers show that the bump in inflation rates in December—caused by soaring meat prices—was only temporary. Well-behaved prices allowed the Central Bank to cut Brazil&#8217;s benchmark interest rate to an all-time low 4.25 percent. However, as explained in our <a href="">February 6 Daily Briefing</a> (premium subscription <a href="">required</a>), there will be no further cuts in the <a href="">short term</a>.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>8 suspected coronavirus cases</h2> <p>As Brazil repatriates 34 citizens from Wuhan—the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak—the country is still investigating eight possible infections at home, having already dismissed 26. The suspected patients are in Rio Grande do Sul (3), São Paulo (3), Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and Santa Catarina (1 each). The risks of an outbreak in Brazil remain slim, but the government has passed new legislation to allow for a swift reaction if that becomes the case.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <div id="buzzsprout-player-2608606"></div> <script src=";player=small" type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8"></script> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <p>But the main risks for Brazil are financial, with several industries facing shortages in inputs for the next few weeks, as we explained in our <a href="">February 7 Daily Briefing</a> (premium subscription <a href="">required</a>). Also, commodity-trading companies have amassed major losses since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a &#8220;global emergency.&#8221;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>BRL 906 million in revenue: São Paulo Carnival</h2> <p>Traditionally associated with Rio de Janeiro, this year&#8217;s Carnival celebrations should generate revenue of BRL 906 million for the city of São Paulo—considering sales of food, beverages, costumes, and lodging—according to the state&#8217;s association of retailers.&nbsp; If confirmed, the performance would represent a 26-percent growth versus 2018&#8217;s Carnival—with retail stores registering a 5-percent bump in sales over the month of February. The association is optimistic about the 2020 Carnival as “people are inclined to spend more, considering a favorable economic scenario, with a heated job market and availability of credit.”</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>193 years in prison</h2> <p>The Federal Police extradited Spanish citizen Carlos Garcia Juliá, a far-right killer sentenced to 193 years in prison for his role in a 1977 terrorist attack in Madrid known as the &#8220;Atocha Massacre.&#8221; Mr. Juliá was part of an extremist group that committed several paramilitary assassinations at that time and was arrested by Brazilian authorities in December 2018. President Jair Bolsonaro praised the decision to extradite the Spanish national, saying Brazil “won’t be a safe haven for terrorists and criminals.”</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>43 banned books</h2> <p>The state government of Rondônia banned 43 classic books from school libraries, including acclaimed pieces of Brazilian literature such as <em>&#8220;Os Sertões&#8221;</em> and <em>&#8220;Macunaíma.&#8221;</em> These titles were considered to have &#8220;inappropriate content.&#8221; After backlash from the press and social media, the federal government intervened.</p> <p>The episode raised comparisons between 2020 Brazil and the times of the military dictatorship, when newspapers and books were censored by the government. It is worth remembering that President Bolsonaro has, time and again, shown fondness for that regime.&nbsp;</p> <p>Late writer Ferreira Gullar famously saw some of his books on the history of Cubism confiscated by the military censors, as officials said &#8220;they were certainly all to do with Cuba.&#8221;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>1.1-percent drop</h2> <p>The steep fall of Brazil&#8217;s industrial production in 2019 was worse than anticipated by analysts. As we detailed in our <a href="">February 5 Daily Briefing</a> (premium subscription <a href="">required</a>), the negative numbers have led many analysts to grow pessimistic about the Brazilian economy in 2020.&nbsp;</p> <p>The January 2019 Brumadinho dam collapse compromised the results of extractivist industries—which had their worst output since 2003. Results would have been even worse if it weren’t for the food industry, propped up by meat consumption. However, even this sector has grim perspectives for the coming months, with China interrupting Brazilian meat purchases due to the coronavirus outbreak.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>1st in unhappiness rankings&nbsp;</h2> <p>Anthropologist Michel Alcoforado, director of Consumoteca Group, has coordinated a study entitled &#8220;<a href="">New Looks for a Tired Society</a>.&#8221; According to his results, 58 percent of the Brazilians population declares themselves to be somewhat or very unsatisfied with their lives, with 41 percent feeling they are not doing everything they can to be happy. With those levels, Brazil stands the first of the list in Latin America, more unhappy than people in Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico.

Lucas Berti

Lucas Berti covers international affairs—specializing Latin American politics and markets. He has been published by Opera Mundi, Revista VIP, and The Intercept Brasil, among others.

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