Numbers of the week: Feb. 13, 2021

. Feb 13, 2021
coronavirus covid-19 vaccine economy Stores closed in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: PhotoCarioca/Shutterstock

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: Palmeiras let Brazilian football down on the world stage, GDP figures are better-than-expected, murders on the rise, a potential return for the coronavirus emergency salary, vaccine shortages, and Brazil’s struggling services sector.

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4-percent economic drop in 2020

After posting better-than-expected growth in December (0.64 percent), the Brazilian economy ended 2020 with an

overall drop of 4.05 percent, according to the Economic Activity Index (IBC-Br), <a href="">published</a> by the Central Bank. The index is seen as a predictor of official GDP data, which will only be confirmed in March. If Central Bank numbers are indeed correct, this will mean that Brazil has surpassed expectations, despite the heavy recession. </p> <p>Markets had predicted a contraction of 4.5 percent last year. Still, the result would be worse than the 3.5-percent skid seen in 2016, during what was then the worst recession in Brazil’s history.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>5-percent bump in murders</h2> <p>Despite Covid-19 restrictions, Brazil saw an increase in its number of homicides in 2020. According to news website G1&#8217;s National Homicide Index, murders increased 5 percent last year, when compared to 2019. The region with the highest increase was the Northeast, where deaths rose 20 percent. In the most-affected state of Ceará, homicides rose by a whopping 81 percent. The tally includes femicides, which have <a href="">increased sharply</a> during the health crisis.</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>9 Latin American countries vaccinating against Covid-19</h2> <p>On February 9, Peru began its vaccination campaign, using doses of the immunizer produced by Chinese lab Sinopharm. This made the country the ninth in Latin America to begin inoculating its citizens. So far, vaccination has begun in Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Bolivia. </p> <p>Most countries have used vaccines produced by Pfizer and Sinovac, with only Mexico, Argentina, and Bolivia used the Russian Sputnik V immunizer. Another ten countries are awaiting the shipment of vaccines provided by the <a href="">UN-backed COVAX facility</a>, expected to arrive in March. </p> <iframe src=";time=2021-01-01..latest&#038;country=BRA~CHL~ARG~MEX~BOL~PAN~ECU~CRI~PER&#038;region=World&#038;vaccinationsMetric=true&#038;interval=total&#038;hideControls=true&#038;perCapita=true&#038;smoothing=0&#038;pickerMetric=population&#038;pickerSort=desc" loading="lazy" style="width: 100%; height: 600px; border: 0px none;"></iframe> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>BRL 250 coronavirus emergency salary set for March return</h2> <p>President Jair Bolsonaro told reporters this week that the government’s <a href="">coronavirus emergency salary program</a> will make a return next month — but failed to inform how much beneficiaries can expect to receive. “It’s almost done, we still don’t know the value,” he said. “[It will last for] three to four months, because we’ve got to be fiscally responsible.” Created in March 2020, the program gave monthly payments of BRL 600 (USD 111) to vulnerable populations. </p> <p>In September, the program was halved — and expired after December. Economy Minister Paulo Guedes suggested the new program will pay out BRL 250 per month.</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/5278747"><script src=""></script></div> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Enough doses for 8 days of vaccination</h2> <p>According to data from Brazilian state’s health secretaries, Brazil only has enough Covid-19 vaccines doses for the next eight days, meaning that 2 million people can be vaccinated until the end of February. There are still 6.53 million doses ready for use, but 70 percent of them are reserved for those waiting to receive a second jab. The situation is unlikely to change until March, when more doses are expected to arrive in several states. Some cities could be out of vaccines by this Saturday, as is the case in <a href="">Rio de Janeiro</a>, where Covid-19 numbers are spiralling out of control.&nbsp;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>Services sector plunged 7.8 percent in 2020&nbsp;</h2> <p>The Brazilian <a href="">services sector crumbled 7.8 percent</a> last year in what was its worst performance since records began in 2012. Pandemic-related restrictions crushed service segments that relied on the in-person economy, making it one of the areas worst hit by the coronavirus crisis. The results for 2020 were even lower than the 5-percent plunge suffered in 2016, when Brazil was in the middle of what was its worst recession in history at the time, set to be bested by the current crisis.&nbsp;</p> <hr class="wp-block-separator"/> <h2>0 goals for Palmeiras</h2> <p>After winning the Copa Libertadores — South America’s most prestigious club football competition — in late January, São Paulo-based club Palmeiras immediately jetted off to Qatar to compete in the <a href="">FIFA Club World Cup</a>. But they might as well have stayed on the plane. After losing 1-0 to Mexican club Tigres in the competition’s semifinal, Palmeiras were defeated in the third-place play-off, losing on penalties to Egyptian side Al Ahly. This was the first time a South American team has finished the annual FIFA tournament in fourth place FIFA’s tournament in the 4th position.

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Lucas Berti

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

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