Economic News Brazil/Regional News
This recently added section is destined to provide up-to-date and current information and press articles about Brazil´s economic, agricultural and real estate situation, as well as regional information (developments, tourism highlights, infrastructure etc.). Different from the literature section (https://real-estate-brazil.com/literature/), which contains more general and in-depth academic analysis and monographies, this section focuses rather on news and recent developments. The second part, “Regional News”, will be sub-divided into news for the different Brazilian states and regions (Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Tocantins etc.)
Short comments about current economic and infrastructural developments below will be accompanied by corroborating links of Brazilian and International Media, mostly journal news, but also topic related publications and even short videos. Economic developments have a strong impact on the real estate market and the political and economic framework serves as a “confidence framework”, in terms of stability of expectations and security of investments. Each investor is well advised to keep these developments in mind.
1. Economic News – Updates and Current Developments in the Economic and Real Estate Sector
24. January 2020: In economic science quite often so-called “proxy variables” are used in order to describe, indirectly, the performance of another variable. If we take the real estate and construction sector for example, one of its “proxies” is the performance on the labour and employment market. The higher the general employment rate, the higher the available income and thus the purchasing power of the populace. As has been proven in several studies, this influences directly the dynamics on the real estate market. As the below article of exame states, in 2019 more than 644.000 new formal jobs were created in Brazil, the highest number since 2013. What is especially remarkable is that large share of the construction sector, with 53.000 new jobs. This testifies to a rapid recovery of the real estate market.
11. January 2020: JP Morgan sees Brazil currently as “overweight” – which means “above market average performance”, with an increase in economic growth, and considers Brazil as one of the best investment countries in Latin America in 2020, only equalled by Colombia.
10. January 2020: According to estimates by the Worldbank and the International Monetary Fund, Brazil consolidades its position as 9th strongest economy in the world, with increasing growth rates. As the extract from the mercado e consumo below states, a growth rate of more than 2 % until 2024 is projected, surpassing the United Kingdom.
18. Dezember 2019: The Brazilian minister of economy, the liberalist Paulo Guedes, said on Wednesday that Brazil will face an “avalanche of investments” in 2020, which will come from both the domestic and foreign markets. According to Guedes, resources will mainly flood the area of infrastructure, especially sanitation, whose legal framework is being updated in Congress. According to the minister, this will allow the Brazilian economy to grow by at least 2% in 2020, according to a conservative Guedes himself.
16. Dezember 2019: The domestic flight sector in Brazil certainly never has been one of the most competitive markets, due to a rather low number of flight companies – a situation slightly aggravated by the recent retreat of Avianca from the domestic market. However, the Brazilian government is responding to this challenge with a further opening of the market, attempting to attract 40 aerial companies to operate in Brazil. This can be considered as renewed investment into the infrastructural development of the country.
12. Dezember 2019: The Comitê de Política Monétaria (COPOM), the central monetary institution of the Brazilian Central Bank, seems determined to continously empower economic growth in Brazil. This is one of the reasons for the recent decision to lower the SELIC rate to 4,5 %, another consecutive record low of interests in Brazil. This should spur economic dynamics and reinvigorate the real estate market with access to cheaper credits.
11. Dezember 2019: Brazil´s credit rating is bound to improve. Standard and Poor´s increases the rating perspective of Brazil, hinting at the improving fiscal situation. S&P reported that Brazil is adopting reforms to reduce the public account deficit. In addition, falling basic interest rates (SELIC rate), which are at their lowest levels in history, help to control the government debt. Rating increases will depend on the successful pursuit of the reform agenda.
15. November 2019: Brazil and China are intensifying their economic and political relations. As reported by Folha de São Paulo, China is putting at disposition 100 billion USD for infrastructure projects in Brazil. A cooperation accord was signed with the Chinese Minister of infrastructure for the joint development of future infrastructure projects. Several advantages of this strategy are projected, among them a better access to cheaper credits by Brazilian companies, as well as the reduction of transaction costs with regard to the Chinese currency.
31. October 2019: Formerly an immutable high interest rate/high inflation country, Brazil has made a spectacular development towards low inflation and a continously record low interest rate (SELIC-rate), which, as economic outlooks predict, continues on its way down. The current interest rate is at 5 %, compared to 14 % about a year ago. Low interest rates are considered to be major propulsors of economic recovery and development, especially encouraging the real estate market. The demand for real estate financing has increased considerably recently, which has a short and medium term effect on the civil construction industry.
30. October 2019: After the successful conclusion of the pension reform, a possible membership of Brazil in OPEC might be the next seminal milestone on the road to economic recovery. Saudi Arabia invited Brazil to become a member, which was positively received by President Jair Bolsonaro. According to the Bloomberg article, in September 2019 Brazil was the third biggest oil producer worldwide.
23. October 2019: The long coveted and highly impactful Pension Reform was finally approved – a economic-political milestone event that even the critical international press holds in high regard. It went through its last legal step, the approval by the senate – which for quite some time was quite in the balance and far from secure. Among others, it raises the retirement age for men to 65 and women to 62, following a pattern of pension reforms in the western world which have started decades earlier in other places. In terms of increasing investor confidence and overall economic performance this can be considered as seminal milestone, and hopefully with many more to come (for example tax reform).
October 2019: Recently the very comprehensive Investment Guide Brazil 2019 was published. It highlights on more than 180 pages different advantages and key sectors of the Brazilian economy. To quote from the introductory page, “Brazil has an open and diversified economy and
a wide array of opportunities across multiple productive sectors. Although Brazil is home to a competitive industrial sector, leading a number
of industries in Latin America, there are still numerous opportunities for business development in areas such as energy, oil and gas, health care,
agribusiness, infrastructure and innovation, among many others.” It is based on information from government sources and was created by Apex Brazil (Agência Brasileira de Promoção de Exportações e Investimento – the Brazilian Agency for the Promotion of Exports and Investments). Its purpose is to identify investment opportunities and help guide investors by providing information about the fundamental variables of the economy.
- Link to the Investment Guide here: Investment_Guide_to_Brazil_2019
8. October 2019: The liberalization of a national economy, with all that it entails, is paramount to economic growth. Another important step was announced by president Jair Bolsonaro, which is yet to be presented to Congress. It refers to the liberalization of the exchange market, providing greater liberties for Brazilian exporters to manage their financial ressources abroad. As the article states, “Bolsonaro’s bill also allows local banks to grant loans to non-residents economic agents, which means that Brazilian banks will be able to finance foreign importers of Brazilian products.” These tendencies should strengthen the economy significantly.
8. October 2019: Recent data published by the IBGE, the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics, suggest that the Brazilian Economy is growing faster than expected after some negative reviews at the beginning of the year. Only in august the industry in São Paulo state grew by 2,6 % (entire Brazil: 0,8 %) and is thus getting close to the all-time peak measure in 2011. While admittedly São Paulo has the strongest regional economy in the country, it is indicative of an overall growth and might hint at a faster recovery than expected.
Also, an article published by the Financial Times on the 29th of august 2019 stated an early recovery (https://www.ft.com/content/4ec6483c-c358-11e9-a8e9-296ca66511c9 a tendency that has yet strengthened.
7. October 2019: Brazil is continuously opening up its borders, for investors and tourists alike. Just recently the tourist visa requirement for citizens from the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan was abolished, thus attracting a much larger number of tourists from these countries. Additional to that, the government is currently studying the possibility to provide US retiree with a permanent residency vista.
2. October 2019: The Tourism sector in Brazil is growing again, due to favorable economic conditions, but also heavy investments in infrastructure. It showed record growth in the first months of this year, with a total income of R$ 136.7 billion, which represents the largest recorded in the last four years. In addition, the industry has created more than 25,000 jobs in the last 12 months (ending July). The data appeared in the unprecedented survey of the National Confederation of Trade in Goods, Services and Tourism (CNC), released this week.
25. September 2019: Employment and its opposite, unemployment, be it seasonal or structural, is one of the key figures of the economic situation of a country. A high employment increases overall welfare, and in more technical terms a higher purchasing capability of the populace, which also influences the dynamics on the reale state market. Brazil has suffered from elevated unemployment rates during the last years, but finally figures are improving. In August 2019 roughly 121.000 new formal jobs have been created, reverse the tendencies of the past years.
13. September 2019: The recently published article below foresees a propicious investment future in Brazil. Based on dates collected by the BNDES (Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social – National Bank for Economic and Social Development) between 2019 and 2022 an increase in real (not nominal) values of 2,7 % in terms of investments is to be expected. This corresponds to 1,1 Trillion R$ and reflects 19 different sectors in the economy.
15. – 17th September 2019: The capital of Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, hosts another edition of the Brazil-Germany Economic Meeting (EEEBA), an important event focused on relations between the two countries. With the principal topic being Brazil-Germany Partnership in times of global change, the event will bring together government officials and business leaders from both countries to discuss expanding investments and new forms of cooperation. While focussed on the bilateral relations between Brazil and Germany, the there developed approaches and models maybe be valid also for different international partnerships and possibly serve as blueprints.
29. August 2019: Brazil, a traditionally relatively closed and protectionist country, is increasingly opening up. A milestone on this way is the recent liberation of the visa requirement for citizens of Australia, Canada, the United States and Japan. This has led to a significant increase of tourism in Brazil, which reflects in the increased revenues from tourism. The article published in the official tourism site mentions an increase of 43,4 % in revenues in July 2019, compared to the same month in 2018.
The Brazilian Economy is resuming growth. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 0,4 % in the second trimester of 2019, thus escaping recession. In comparison to the same period in 2018, the GDP grew by 1 %. This growth, among other, consists of a strengthening construction industry (2,9 % increase), while the share of the extraction industry (mining etc.) has declined (- 3,8 %).
The construction sector was one of these that suffered most from the economic crisis of the previous years, with 20 months of consecutive decline. Finally, the sector is recovering, based on data from the IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística), with a growth in the second trimester of 2019 of 2 %, and an increase of investments of 5,2 % in comparison to the second trimester of 2018. This traditionally strong sector contributes significantly to the GDP and is also a good indicator for employment growth. The currently observed improvement of the construction sector is partially due to the favorable credit environment, with expansion of available financing options and record-low interest rates in Brazil.
21. August 2019: Debureaucratization is on its way in Brazil. The recently approved (21. of August, Senate) “Lei de Liberdade Economica” (Law of Economic Freedom) is actually a so-called “Medida Provisoria” (Provisionary Measure) which as been turned permanent by Congress Voting. It enacts a variety of economic and legal measures facilitating immensely economic endeavours, like diminished restrictions and registration obligations and in general facilitated procedures when it comes to opening and administering a company.
20. August 2019: The following promotional video was recently published by the Brazilian Ministry of Infrastructure. While each promotional publication, due to its inherent nature, tends to overemphasize the benefits and advantages of a given issue, the main tenets presented in this video correspond to the facts. Brazil is increasing investments in infra-structure (railways, ports, interstate-highways), turning the country every more attractive to international investors. The video is in english language.
13. August 2019: Brazil achieved today another important goal on the road to economic progress and market liberalism. The So-called “Medida Provisoria de Liberdade Economica” – Provision Measure (a prerogative of the Executive) of Economic Liberty – aims to facilitate the life of the businessman and entrepreneur in Brazil, intending to reduce bureaucracy, guaranteeing, on a wider scale, the freedom to pursue economic activities and dispensing of the need to obtain licenses for a number of branches and sectors. The MP was today voted on in the National Assembly, and will still have to pass in the Senate. Taking effect, it should stimulate economic activity, and with it renewed growth.
23. July 2019: Another important step towards greater competitiveness of the Brazilian future economy was performed today – the decision to end the gas monopoly of Petrobras. The new gas market can significantly reduce energy costs in industries and allow private investments in the industry, establishing a competitive market for gas production. Government plans to include replacing diesel-fired thermal power plants with gas as supply contracts expire. All in all, this will strengthen Brazil´s competitiveness and make it a more attractive target for investors.
21. July 2019: Brazil risk (“Risco Brasil”) and general risk perception diminishing: Due to the success in the approval of the pension reform, but also supported by a calmer international economic and trade framework, including the chance of lower US interest rates, the risk of investments in Brazil is decreasing and has reached the lowest level for the last 5 years. The Credit Default Swap (CDS), an indicator of risk perception, was negotiated one day before the publication of the article, at 128 points – the lowest value since september 2014. And Merrill Lynch sees a chance that the approved pension reform might induce a positive chain reaction, opening up room for additional reforms.
17. July 2019: After the closure of the Free Trade Treaty between the EU and the Mercosur, the first meeting among the members of the Mercosur will take place in Santa Fe, Argentina. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro will discuss the first steps towards the implementation.
16. July 2019: One of the strongest and most robustly growing sectors in Brazil is the Renewable Energies Sector. The US Consulting Agency Bloomberg just published a paper foreseeing 97 Billion US-Dollar Investments into Solar, Eolic and Biomass Energy. This coincides with – and impacts on – the real estate sector too, since the demand for large areas is growing.
15. July 2019: News Brazil: The de facto growth of the Brazilian economy did not meet up the previous expectations, but is showing now signs of recovery. In may 2019 the economy grew by 0,54 %, as published by the Banco Central. The recent closure of the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Mercosur as well as the approved Pension Reform might contribute to higher growth in the near future, and already now increasing market confidence.
14. July 2019: Recently, the Estadão has published an infopage about ongoing privatizations and concessions on PPP (Public-Private-Partnership Basis), regarding Airports, Energy Sector, Railways, Mining, Oil and Gas, Road-Construction and Ports. The below info-graphics can be found under the below link, which shows privatizations and denationalizations that have already happened or are yet to occur. It shows also the type of operation as well as the market value. Privatization, if well regulated and planned, is an important step towards a liberalization of the economy and thus economic growth. It is part of the political agenda of the market-oriented minister Paulo Guedes.
11. July 2019: Yesterday the Pension Reform in Brazil was approved. This will stabilize the economy significantly and increase investor confidence in Brazil.
- For additional Information about the Pension Reform and its public misconceptions see: https://www.itau.com.br/itaubba-es/analisis-economicos/publicaciones/macro-vision/ten-common-misconceptions-about-brazils-pension-reform-pec-287
15. March 2019: While the initial months of Bolsonaro´s government could not quite meet the huge expectations placed into it after (and before) the elction, Brazil appears well positioned “to enter a new era of foreign investment that would have a powerful impact on the country’s infrastructure development and its economic fortunes following years of economic volatility. The goal of new President Jair Bolsonaro’s government is to increase total infrastructure investment via partnerships or privatization. The government’s ambitious plan to boost the economy includes doubling investment in infrastructure to approximately US$65 billion per year by 2022.” For further reading:
2. Regional News – Regional Developments
25. January 2020: The small Brazilian state of Alagoas is another example of a rapidly evolving region in the Brazilian North-East. As Published by the Secretary of Tourism of the state, the advance of local tourism is already reflected in the growth of the hotel offer in the capital of Alagoas, Maceio. These are new developments that contribute to the expansion of the tourism sector which has grown 30.38% in the last two years, compared to the 2016/2017 biennium.
13. Dezember 2019: A consortium formed by three Chinese companies was the winner of the auction for the construction of the Salvador-Ilha de Itaparica bridge, held on Friday (13), at the São Paulo Stock Exchange. The consortium’s investment will be $ 6 billion, while the Government of Bahia will provide $ 1.5 billion. The bridge´s management and administration will last for 30 years. It represents a major improvement in the regional infrastructure, with significantly shortened travel times between the mainland and the island.
4. June 2019: Bahia maintains one of the highest investment ratios in infrastructure in Brazil. This reflects, on the one hand, a general increase in infrastructure investments in all of Brazil, on the other hand a very accentuated investment dynamic in Bahia state. According to information of the state government, between january and abril 2019 approximately 555 Million R$.
14. March 2019: The first estimates related to Bahia’s economic performance point to growth that should again follow the trend of Brazilian GDP, however, with a slightly lower projection than that made by Focus Bulletin of the Central Bank.
2. March 2019: The growth perspectives for the real estate market in Bahia are optimistic. Besides being one of the Brazilian states with the highest growth rates in the tourism sector (Praia do Forte, Sauípe etc.), a research recently conducted by the CNI (Confederação Nacional da Indústria), together with the ADEMI-BA (Associação de Dirigentes de Empresas do Mercado Imobiliário da Bahia) pinpoints a growth of 7 % in 2019. It further highlights that this growth will be observed on the litoral area as well as in the interior of the state.
25. February 2019: The projected bridge, 12,4 km long, that ought to connect Salvador and Itaparica, should increase the economic and touristic attractivness of the region significantly. The original idea of the bridge goes back to 1960, however was not realized until this day. While showing Brazil´s commitment to infrastructure development in general, it also is a testament to China´s increased economic interest in Brazil. Be as it may, the real estate market in the nearby region will profit from these developments without doubt.
10. April 2019: A decisive pillar of Fortaleza´s infrastructure developments is represented by the modernization and amplification of the International Airport Pinto Martins. The article below highlights some of the most important key aspects, among them a projection of receiving up to 20 million passengers per year. The airport was recently taken over by the German airport administration company Fraport (Frankfurt/Main). Fraport also as an administration contract for the airport in Porto Alegre, demonstrating the companies commitment with Brazil´s infrastructural future. The investments into the airport in Fortaleza will strengthen Ceara´s significance as tourism hotspot in Brazil.
- Here are some views of the interior:
Introductory Article and Video about Paraná and its touristic potential:
General Economic Facts about Paraná:
Rio de Janeiro
17. February 2020: The infrastructural future of Angra dos Reis is currently being discussed and planned at large. A meeting defined investments to stimulate growth of the tourism sector in Angra dos Reis. Among the topics discussed were the expansion of the airport and the Marina São Bento project. Officials such as the state senator, Flávio Bolsonaro and the minister of Tourism, Marcelo Álvaro Antônio, were present.
21. October 2019: The Brazilian Ministry for Tourism has announced an additional 15 Mio. R$ of investments to improve the infrastructure in the region and preserve the cultural heritage of Angra dos Reis. The resources will be used to adapt and merge the Fisherman’s Wharf and Santa Luzia Wharf, the illumination of historical monuments and the construction of the Costeirinha Pier, the convention center, Gordas beach lookout point, the Vila cultural pole and several other historical and touristic places.
31. July 2019: The current government is planning heavy investments in the region in and around Ilha Grande, aiming at doubling tourism in the next years. The tourism potential is, estimated by Angra e Ilha Grande Convention & Visitors Bureau, bigger than Mexiko´s Cancun. Several international investors have declared their interest in investing in this region. However, there might be some kind of environmental impact – which should be reflected in a sustainable and ecological development.
Update 13. August 2019: The potential investments into the touristic development of the region will amount to approximately 1 Billion R$, targetting around 40 distinct items, like improvement of infrastructure, the construction of touristic complexes or a new desalinization plant.
05. July 2019: Paraty was officially recognized as world cultural and natural heritage by UNESCO. With it, Brazil has now 22 places the fall into this category. The classification of Paraty as world cultural and natural heritage was based on two aspects: first, culturally in relation to its historic center, and second, in relation to its exuberant surroundings nature, encompassing a 149.000 ha large area, including famous national parks and reserves like the National Park of Serra da Bocaina, as well as 187 islands.
14. May 2019: Paraty e Ilha Grande, em Angra, podem se tornar patrimônio mundial:
- https://g1.globo.com/rj/sul-do-rio-costa-verde/noticia/2019/05/14/paraty-e-ilha-grande-em-angra-podem-se-tornar-patrimonio-mundial-da-humanidade.ghtml – This article highlights the prospects of Angra dos Reis, specifically Ilha Grande, to become UNESCO world cultural heritage.
20. October 2017: Macaé is one of the fastest growing cities in the state of Rio de Janeiro, with record investments in infrastructure and commerce. One of the foremost port locations, it is a nexus for offshore oil platforms. The below article corroborates the enormous growth potential of Macaé, which will receive 25 new platform contracts in the coming years. This should, among many other investments into the (also touristic) infrastructure lead to a enormous valuation of the region.
Rio Grande do Norte
18. Juni 2019: São Miguel do Gostoso, part of São Miguel de Touros, is one of the most attractive touristic regions in Rio Grande do Norte. The below article highlights some of the advantages and benefits of this place and shows some touristic attractions, like the Calcanhar Lighthouse, as well as the numerous leisure activities in the region.
01. October 2019: Today the new airport in Florianopolis was inaugurated. It represents a major developmental leap forward of the region. Some key facts:
- A total investment of R$ 550 million.
- The new airport will be capable of handling 8 million passengers, 4 times its current capacity.
- There will be 120 flights per day. This includes new international flights to Portugal ( Lisbon) and the USA ( Orlando), together with an increased number of flights to Argentina. It is also important for potential clients to know that there are no flight paths over our property, and therefore no noise pollution.
- There will be parking for 2,500 cars. 5 times the current capacity.
- In addition to an extensive range of shops and restaurants, there are plans for concerts, exhibitions, shows and tours.
- Additional Information: https://floripa-airport.com/en/negocios-e-parceiros
12. March 2019: The below summary highlights some of the main advantages to invest in the litoral regions of Santa Catarina, with Balneario Camboriú being a prominent example. Elevated social development and high rates of real estate valuation count among the foremost parameters.
01. July 2019: The state of Santa Catarina in general, with certain hotspots in specific like Florianopolis or Joinville, is one of the most developed in terms of infrastructure and tourism development in Brazil. The below article highlights some keynumbers, and also looks at the distribution based on origin of tourists.
12. August 2019: The newspaper article refers to the confirmed plan to extend the so-called “Rodoanel Suzano” – Rodoanel Mário Covas (SP-21) , one of the main transit points of São Paulo. It will expand, with new access point. This will alleviate the traffic situation in São Paulo and is one of several major infrastructure projects in Brazil´s largest metropolis. According to real estate analysts this should have an influence on the property market.
20. March 2019: News Brazil: The real estate market in São Paulo is consolidating. The article, published in Exame, highlights some of the tendencies, and states that already in 2018 the general demand for properties and real estate has, compared to 2017, increased by 30 %. This is a tendency bound to continue in the future, also flanked by the recovery of the economic framework and positive political-economic developments.
9. January 2020: Despite being one of Brazil´s smallest states, the agricultural performance of Sergipe is breath-taking, but also reflecting the general tendencies in Brazil of a growing agricultural economy, with increasing productivity and efficiency. The below article highlights, in an exemplary fashing, the corn harvest of 760.000 tons, which represents a growth of 6,6 % compared to the previous year (2018). One of the variables influencing this outcome is the decrease in the value added tax (ICMS) from 12 % to 2 % for agricultural production in Sergipe, reflecting similar tendencies all over Brazil.
6. September 2019: Sergipe is one of the smallest and equally youngest Brazilian states, established in 1892. However, it is also one of the economically most dynamic and rapidly developping states. Investments in infrastructure have increased recently, and the contract for the concession of the airport of Aracajú, Sergipe´s capital, is one milestone. The article highlights the principal aspects, among them the perspectives of improving the performance of the airport significantly.
7. September 2019: Sergipe is one of the most promissing states in terms of renewable energy exploration, among them solar, eolic energies, but also natural gas extractions. It will thus represent a crucial part in Brazil´s future energy matrix, based on green and sustainable energies. Two larger companies are currently exploring natural gas reserves in Sergipe, namely Petrobras and Exxonmobile, with Petrobras only opening up an extraction capability of up to 20 million m³ per day.