Numbers of the week: Feb. 15, 2020

. Feb 15, 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: Carnival street parties take over Rio de Janeiro, the arrest of two journalists investigating the death of crime boss Adriano da Nobrega, the murder of Brazilian journalist Léo Veras, the rout of Brazil’s currency, floods in São Paulo, and growth perspectives for Brazilian banks. 

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441 Carnival street parties

Brazil’s Carnival celebrations

only officially begin next week, but several cities are already in the &#8220;pre-Carnival&#8221; mode. In Rio de Janeiro alone, 441 street parades will take over the city until Mardi Gras itself. While impressive, the number represents 57 fewer parades than in 2019.&nbsp;</p> <p>Brazil&#8217;s Wonderful City expects a record 2 million tourists for this year&#8217;s Carnival celebrations. Riotur, the state&#8217;s tourism company, took action to avoid disturbances during the holiday—such as sending major parades to wide avenues in the city center, instead of tighter neighborhood streets. Revelers who insist in parading outside of permitted areas will be fined—on average, penalties are between BRL 5,000 to 10,000, <a href="">according to <em>G1</em></a>.</p> <div id="buzzsprout-player-1078973"></div> <script src=";player=small" type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8"></script> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>2 journalists temporarily detained</h2> <p>Weekly magazine <a href=""><em>Veja</em> published photos</a> on Friday suggesting that crime boss Adriano da Nóbrega—killed during a Bahia Military Police operation on Sunday—was professionally executed. Mr. Nóbrega was linked to Rio&#8217;s deadliest paramilitary group and was a pivotal character that could help crack two cases: the killing of former City Councilor Marielle Franco and a <a href="">money-laundering investigation into Senator Flávio Bolsonaro</a>, the president&#8217;s eldest son.</p> <p>Hours later, two of the magazine&#8217;s journalists were briefly detained by cops while looking for one of the witnesses in the case. The police asked them: <em>&#8220;How did you find this address?&#8221;</em> The case sparked a massive discussion on the freedom of the press in Brazil, days after Brazilian journalist Léo Veras was killed in the Paraguayan city of Pedro Juan Caballero (more below).</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>February 12 plus 1</h2> <p>In Brazil&#8217;s electronic voting system, parties and candidates are designated by numbers. The Workers&#8217; Party&#8217;s number, for instance, is 13. And that&#8217;s why President Jair Bolsonaro called Thursday&#8217;s date &#8220;February 12 plus 1&#8221; during his weekly Facebook live stream, refusing to say the number associated with his political rivals.</p> <p>Former President Lula’s political group <a href="">celebrated its 40th anniversary</a> this week, trying to find ways to regain public support among lower-income and religious voters—which ditched the center-left party for Mr. Bolsonaro in 2018.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>12 close-range shots</h2> <p>A group of gunmen killed Brazilian journalist Léo Veras at his home in the Paraguayan border city of Pedro Juan Caballero, connected to the Brazilian town of Ponta Porã. He ran a website that covered drug trafficking news on the border. According to local prosecutor Marco Amarilla, Mr. Veras said he had received death threats in the days leading up to his murder. According to the victim&#8217;s wife, &#8220;he knew he was going to be killed.&#8221;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>7,000 tons</h2> <p>São Paulo’s state food supply hub Ceagesp lost roughly 7,000 tons of food products after its warehouses were flooded on February 10. That represents 70 percent of Ceagesp’s traded volume in a day, and roughly BRL 20 million in losses. Disruptions in Ceagesp may cause shortages or food inflation even in remote areas of Brazil, as the hub centralizes the logistics of food distribution all over the country.&nbsp;</p> <p>The episode is also bad press for São Paulo’s government, which aims to turn Ceagesp’s current facilities—in the western area of the state capital—into a major innovation hub, tipped to be “Brazil’s Silicon Valley.” Our <a href="">Explaining Brazil podcast</a> shows that extreme climate conditions are becoming the &#8220;new normal&#8221; in Brazil—a result of climate change accentuating poor <a href="">urban planning</a>.</p> <div id="buzzsprout-player-2725189"></div> <script src=";player=small" type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8"></script> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>USD 1 : BRL 4.38</h2> <p>The Brazilian Real reached its lowest nominal level in history against the U.S. Dollar on Thursday, prompting the Central Bank to intervene with new swap contracts for the first time since August 2018. The rout of the local currency—which as seen drops of 8 percent in the year—was worsened by the comments of Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, who considers this foreign exchange rate to be the new standard for the Brazilian Real. </p> <p>Economists have been blaming the low benchmark interest rate and concerns over the Covid-19 outbreak&#8217;s effects on the Brazilian economy, as well as the USD’s overall strength propelled by a booming US economy. As we explained in our <a href="">February 14 Daily Briefing</a>, the Central Bank&#8217;s interventions throughout 2019 have diminished Brazil’s international reserves, sparking debate over their importance.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>BRL 26.5 billion</h2> <p>Itaú Unibanco bank surpassed its own record for highest annual profits for a Brazilian bank in 2019. Combined, the three biggest private banks in Brazil—Itaú Unibanco, Bradesco, and Santander Brasil—had 15-percent larger profits, at BRL 68.8 billion over the year. Adding state-owned Banco do Brasil to the mix, profits reach BRL 81.5 billion. However, on February 14, we explained that the days of high profits may be over, according to Brazil’s Central Bank own predictions, due to the increasing competition with fintechs and other companies that offer credit and means of payment.

Natália Scalzaretto

Natália Scalzaretto has worked for companies such as Santander Brasil and Reuters, where she covered news ranging from commodities to technology. Most recently, she worked as an Editor for Trading News, the information division from the TradersClub investor community.

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