Numbers of the week: Mar. 14, 2020

. Mar 14, 2020
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’s topics: confirmed coronavirus infections—including patients close to the president, a turbulent week for Brazilian markets, Brazil’s economic response to the outbreak.

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confirmed coronavirus infections&nbsp;</h2> <p>According to the latest update by Brazil&#8217;s Health Ministry, the country has confirmed 162 Covid-19 infections. The largest country in Latin America is also the one with most cases, by far. Another 1,485 patients are being monitored—while 1,344 possible cases have been discarded. So far, no one in Brazil has died from Covid-19. Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said Brazil will experience “20 rough weeks ahead,” as infections are set to skyrocket.</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/1541240"><script src=""></script></div> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>3 circuit breakers in one week</h2> <p>The novel coronavirus outbreak and an <a href="">oil price war</a> between Saudi Arabia and Russia (the world&#8217;s leading oil exporters) sent shockwaves across the globe. And with investors everywhere entering &#8220;survival mode&#8221; and avoiding <em>any </em>kind of risk, <a href="">Brazilian markets went haywire</a> over the past week. On Monday, the benchmark index dipped 10 percent in less than 30 minutes and triggered a circuit breaker—when trading is suspended for half an hour. After the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic, the same thing happened on Thursday. <em>Twice</em>. Over a two-week span, companies listed in São Paulo combined for losses of <a href="">nearly BRL 900 billion in market value</a>.&nbsp;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>USD 1 : BRL 5</h2> <p>The Brazilian Real was the worst-performing emerging currency this week. On Thursday, the foreign exchange rate briefly topped the USD 1 : BRL 5 milestone, closing the week at BRL 4.8163. Last week, Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said the U.S. Dollar would reach BRL 5.00 if he was to “<a href="">make lots of mistakes</a>.” After the currency did reach that level, Mr. Guedes said he was misquoted—and that he was talking about the entire political establishment making mistakes.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>1 cabinet member is Covid-19 positive</h2> <p>Press Secretary <a href="">Fábio Wajngarten</a> has tested <a href="">positive for Covid-19</a>, after accompanying President Jair Bolsonaro to a state visit in Florida—which included meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Following the diagnosis, Mr. Bolsonaro, his family, and all members of the Brazilian delegation were tested—all the results have so far been negative.</p> <p>But the case marked the latest episode of Mr. Bolsonaro&#8217;s conflictual relationship with the press. Government officials leaked to a handful of media outlets—including American conservative cable news channel <em>Fox News</em>—that the president&#8217;s test had come back <em>positive</em>. Only for Jair Bolsonaro to <a href="">relish at the opportunity of debunking</a> what he called &#8220;fake news media.&#8221;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>BRL 28 billion against the novel coronavirus</h2> <p>Economy Minister Paulo Guedes announced that the government will <a href="">inject BRL 28 billion in the economy to avoid a recession</a>. The move comes after many other countries adopted stimulus actions following a global slowdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Mr. Guedes&#8217; plan is to assist lower-income populations currently depending on government pensions and retirement checks. The government is expected to allow workers to withdraw money from their mandatory severance fund—which can only be accessed on specific occasions.</p> <p>House Speaker Rodrigo Maia called Mr. Guedes&#8217; plan &#8220;barely anything,&#8221; prompting the minister to promise a new economic plan for the next few days. Following Mr. Maia&#8217;s complaint, the government announced over BRL 200 in loans at low interest rates to help companies affected by the novel coronavirus.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>60 years old</h2> <p>The Supreme Court changed some of its operating rules because of Covid-19. Only lawyers and their clients will be able to participate in trials. Public visits are suspended and civil servants over 60 will be able to work from home. According to a rule signed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Dias Toffoli, any civil servant, employee, intern or justice who presents fever or respiratory symptoms will be considered a suspicious case—and must report to health authorities. Elderly people are considered the most vulnerable to Covid-19, with the two known deaths of <a href="">coronavirus patients in Latin America</a> (in Argentina and Panama) being in that age group.

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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