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Numbers of the week: Nov. 7, 2020

. Nov 07, 2020
military inflation vaccine football jobs elections coronavirus deaths fake news 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: Amapá state without power since Tuesday, rising inflation, PIX gets off the ground, five years since Brazil’s biggest environmental disaster.

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4 days without electricity … and counting

After an energy distribution plant

was damaged by a fire, all but two municipalities in the northern state of Amapá have been without electricity since November 3. The power outage has also disrupted the water supply —&nbsp;leading citizens to descend upon supermarkets in their droves to buy bottled water. Internet access and telephone networks have been compromised, and the local government has declared a 30-day state of emergency.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Mines and Energy Minister hopes to restore all energy in Amapá within 10 days. The crisis has infuriated Senate President Davi Alcolumbre,&nbsp;who hails from the state. He has demanded action from the federal government, and has <a href="https://g1.globo.com/politica/noticia/2020/09/01/camara-aprova-texto-base-de-projeto-que-muda-regras-do-mercado-de-gas-natural.ghtml">declared support for a bill</a> breaking the state monopoly in the gas market.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>0.86-percent October inflation</h2> <p>The National Consumer Price Index (IPCA) — the country&#8217;s main inflation indicator — rose 0.86 percent last month, the highest rate for October since 2002. The index was pushed by <a href="https://brazilian.report/business/2020/09/09/food-inflation-triggers-warning-for-brazil-bolsonaro/">climbing food and beverage prices</a> — which rose 1.93 percent.</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/4265021"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>1,500 PIX transactions on day 1</h2> <p>On November 3, the Central Bank’s <a href="https://brazilian.report/podcast/2020/11/04/explaining-brazil-podcast-banking-instant-payment-pix-up-steam/">new instant payments system PIX</a> went live in a trial mode. During its first day of operations, PIX registered more than 1,500 transactions, at an average amount of BRL 90 (USD 15) and maximum value of BRL 35,000. At this first moment, the PIX will be only available to 5 percent of bank customers. After November 16, when trial mode is over, PIX will be available to all consumers and merchants on a 24-hour basis.</p> <iframe src="https://open.spotify.com/embed-podcast/episode/0fByH5qfgMcbTWnfEEQyPr" width="100%" height="232" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>5 years after Mariana disaster</h2> <p>This week marked the <a href="https://brazilian.report/environment/2020/11/05/five-years-after-mariana-disaster-families-still-await-compensation/">five-year anniversary</a> of the Mariana dam collapse — the <a href="https://brazilian.report/society/2018/11/05/mariana-disaster-2015-tragedy/">biggest environmental disaster</a> in Brazilian history. After an iron ore tailings dam collapsed in the municipality of Mariana, some 65 kilometers from Belo Horizonte, the equivalent of 25,000 Olympic swimming pools of toxic sludge was spilled, destroying entire towns and resulting in 19 deaths. It also devastated the Doce River, a crucial waterway to the surrounding region. Thousands of animals were killed and experts at the time reckoned that it would take decades to reverse the catastrophic damage caused.</p> <p>Five years after the tragedy, 29,039 people still depend on trucks for their <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/hec.4151?utm_campaign=academico-111&amp;utm_content=error-cookies-turned-off&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=Publicate">supply of clean water</a>, an issue that became even more severe during the coronavirus pandemic. A consultancy firm has identified delays in 42 reparations programs, “principally those concerning the resumption of income and [those related to] the environment.”</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Carbon emissions up 9.6 percent</h2> <p>Greenhouse-effect inducing emissions were <a href="https://noticias.uol.com.br/ultimas-noticias/agencia-estado/2020/11/06/emissoes-de-gases-estufa-no-brasil-subiram-96-em-2019-com-alta-no-desmatamento.htm">up 9.6 percent</a> in Brazil last year — the first under President Jair Bolsonaro. According to the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimating System, a total of 2.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide were released, up from 1.98 billion in 2018. The study shows that the main reason for the release of pollutants into the air was deforestation, accounting for 44 percent of the <a href="https://valor.globo.com/brasil/noticia/2020/11/06/brasil-no-cumprir-a-meta-de-corte-de-emisses-em-2020.ghtml">country&#8217;s emissions</a>. Agribusiness is the second-biggest culprit, responsible for 598.7 million tons of carbon dioxide.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>56-12 for Central Bank autonomy&nbsp;</h2> <p>Senators passed a bill granting institutional <a href="https://brazilian.report/newsletters/brazil-daily/2020/02/19/central-bank-brazil-shielded-political-interference/">autonomy to the Brazilian Central Bank</a> in a 56-12 vote. The law — which now goes to the lower house — guarantees four-year terms for the bank’s board of directors, which will not coincide with presidential terms. The idea is to shield the monetary authority from political interference.

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Ariádne Mussato

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