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Numbers of the week: June 20, 2020

. Jun 20, 2020
UN charter coronavirus deaths Health Ministry data, economic reopening ... Brazil's numbers this week

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: a coronavirus landmark, fewer new businesses in Brazil, Amazon deforestation becomes bad business, Brazil’s former Education Minister not-so-impressive support, a new coronavirus credit line, 70 years of the Maracanã Stadium — and the strength of a football brand. 

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1 million coronavirus cases

Dubbed a “little flu” by President Jair Bolsonaro, Covid-19 has already officially

infected over 1 million Brazilians, making Brazil just the second nation in the world (after the U.S.) to reach the seven-figure mark. And this is despite massive underreporting due to test shortages: the real figures could be been as much as 8-12 times higher the official numbers. This ongoing coronavirus tragedy is compounded by the fact that Brazil has a population significantly smaller than the U.S. (209 million v. 328 million) and was hit by the virus roughly two weeks <em>later </em>than most countries outside Latin America.</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-map" data-src="visualisation/1839805" data-url="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/1839805/embed"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>30 percent fewer new businesses</h2> <p>According to data from the Economy Ministry, 189,000 new businesses were opened in Brazil between March and April, 30 percent less than during the same period in 2019. Curiously, the number of closures fell sharply, 41.1 percent fewer than April of last year. The study also pointed towards growth among new firms in economic sectors that no longer need operating licenses or permits, thanks to the <a href="https://brazilian.report/power/2019/05/02/bureaucracy-bolsonaro-business-free-decree/">Economic Freedom Law</a> of 2019. Businesses leading the number of new openings so far this year include beauty salons and clothes stores.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>7 firms threaten to pull investments</h2> <p>According to Reuters, seven major European investment firms will <a href="https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN23Q1MU?__twitter_impression=true">divest</a> from Brazilian beef producers, grains traders, and even government bonds if they do not see progress in halting the surging destruction of the Amazon rainforest. The agency points out that deforestation “surged to an 11-year high in 2019, Mr. Bolsonaro’s first year in office, and has risen a further 34 percent in the first five months of 2020.” <strong>The Brazilian Report</strong> <a href="https://brazilian.report/environment/2020/04/15/pandemic-deforestation-rises-amazon-exposed/">showed</a> how deforestation worsened during the pandemic. </p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>0.0028 percent of teachers support Weintraub</h2> <p>This week, Abraham Weintraub <a href="https://brazilian.report/newsletters/brazil-daily/2020/06/19/brazil-fired-education-minister-world-bank-job-queiroz-arrest-gdp/">resigned</a> as Education Minister, after 14 months of controversy. A pro-government conservative blog published an open letter by &#8220;teachers for Abraham Weintraub,&#8221; with 70 signatories. Considering that Brazil has some 2.5 million teachers, according to the Anísio Teixeira National Institute of Educational Studies and Research, Mr. Weintraub, who is widely regarded as perhaps the worst minister in recent Brazilian history, is backed by 0.028 percent of teachers.&nbsp;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>BRL 2 billion in credit</h2> <p>Brazil’s National Development Bank (BNDES) will provide a special BRL 2 billion (USD 380.45 million) credit line to companies <a href="https://valor.globo.com/financas/noticia/2020/06/17/empresas-atuarao-no-repasse-de-recursos-a-fornecedores.ghtml">willing to supply</a> working capital to their suppliers and clients, Economy Ministry Special Advisor Guilherme Domingos told finance newspaper Valor. The measure was created to address a gap in credit supply to small vendors and businesses that are not currently benefiting from existing loan programs. The system will then lend an “anchor” to companies, whose clients and suppliers’ survival will benefit their business; thus, aligning the company’s needs and interests with BNDES’ attempts to save small and medium enterprises.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>2.25 percent</h2> <p>In an effort to boost economic activity, the Brazilian Central Bank slashed the country’s Selic benchmark interest rate from 3 to 2.25 percent a year, in line with <a href="https://brazilian.report/business/2020/06/17/brazils-stock-market-rises-from-the-dead-what-now/">market expectations</a>. The monetary authority considered the current level to be compatible with the economic impacts of Covid-19 and “future adjustments to the current level of stimulus will be residual.” In a <a href="https://www.bcb.gov.br/detalhenoticia/17095/nota">statement</a>, the bank’s Monetary Policy Committee said: “Regarding the global outlook, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause a pronounced slowdown in global growth.”</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>70 years old</h2> <p>The iconic Maracanã stadium turned 70 this week. On June 16, 1950, the Jornalista Mário Filho Stadium — the official name&nbsp;— opened its doors for the first time to host a football match between select sides from Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Better known as the Maracanã, the huge stadium in Rio de Janeiro soon became known as the Temple of Football, hosting innumerable historic matches, two World Cups finals, as well as events during the 2016 Olympics.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>25-percent bump in stocks</h2> <p>Preference shares of Banco de Brasília —&nbsp;a state-owned bank headquartered at the federal capital&nbsp;— went up 25 percent after news broke of a sponsorship deal with Flamengo, Brazil&#8217;s most popular football club. A 2019 survey by pollster Datafolha estimated <a href="https://brazilian.report/sports/2019/09/23/football-21st-century-champions-south-america/">Flamengo&#8217;s supporters to number around 40 million</a> —&nbsp;meaning one in five Brazilians supports the Rio de Janeiro club. The iconic club has more supporters than the entire Polish population (38.5 million).

 
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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