INVESTING IN BRAZIL – Expected High Growth and Longterm Sustainability
(this document is only availabe in english)
The principal reasons why Brazil can nowadays be considered one of the world´s best investment opportunities include, amongst others, a strong economy, clean energetic matrix and a large domestic market. Brazil has suffered some setbacks due to the political crisis in 2016 and 2017, including corruption scandals and mis-allocation of funds. However, it was equally a testimony of functioning political institutions and a well working juridical system that brought the responsible to justice.
Economic core variables like the inflation rate or the PIB have improved considerably, and it is fair to assume that in the near future Brazil will experience an immense take-off in terms of economic performance. Currently, the so-called “country risk” (risco pais) is considered low according to JPMorgans Risk Index.
As the world´s sixth largest economy and supposedly soon the fifth largest the country also plays a leading role in Latin American economy and politics, standing out with increased attractiveness in the global scene.
While the global average economic growth has remained either negative or close to zero since of the 2008 financial crisis, Brazil´s GDP reached 7.5% in 2010, the highest score since 1986. The subsequent arguments and parameters are corroborated by references from literature that you can find on the “Literature” section of this homepage. Links to current journal and newspaper articles you can find here below.
Bloomberg is currently considering Brazil as the foremost investment target among the emerging Market. The article published on the 19th of December 2018 attributes to Brazil an enormous growth potential:
Brazil, Indonesia Expected to Lead Emerging-Market Comeback in 2019:
Positively reinforced by the election of the market-friendly president Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil´s economic future looks brighter than ever. The article highlights several investment-related key-figures and posits Brazil at the pole position on almost all items.
But let us have a more in-depth look on Brazil´s primary economic and geopolitical strengths:
Brazil´s major competitive advantages presently comprise:
1. Strong domestic market:
- less vulnerable to international economic crisis scenarios
- constantly growing due to increasing income and economic inclusion of larger parts of the populace
- high demand inelasticity
- high potential of growth in regions so far less developed
- Social and economic growth combined with stability and environmental sustainability
2. Richness of natural assets:
- ideal for agriculture due to availability of adequate rainfall and the fertile nature
- The major agricultural products include sugar cane, corn, cassava, soybean, oranges, coffee, cotton, tobacco and cocoa
- world’s leading producer of tin, iron ore and phosphate
- for more information see below in “Brazil – the Granary of the World”
3. Social and macroeconomic structure:
- stable macroeconomic background
- stability-oriented monetary policy
- mainly unaffected by international economic crises
- low and decreasing inflation
- low and decreasing interest rates – see about the current interest rate development: https://tradingeconomics.com/brazil/interest-rate
- decreasing social inequality/improvements in social well-being
- poverty (people living with US$2 per day) has fallen markedly, from 21% of the population in 2003 to 11% in 2009
- Between 2001 and 2009, the income growth rate of the poorest 10% of the population was 7% per year, while that of the richest 10% was 1.7% (decrease of the Gini-coefficient to 0.509 in 2012)
- sound and resilient banking system
- favorable external debt composition and high foreign reserves (approximately US$ 380 billion)
4. Open markets, multilateralism and attractiveness for foreign private and corporative investors:
- several regional and municipal investment incentives
- increasing significance of exports (natural and agricultural resources as well as high tech products – for example EMBRAER)
- strong growing property market
- Average capital appreciation on completed property is 20% per annum with land purchases even more favourable
- world´s pioneer in Eco-Tourism (the world´s fastest growing tourism branch)
- high degree of foreign direct investments
Update: Having taken effect on the 29 of june 2019, during the G20 Summit, the newly established Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the Mercosur can be considered a milestone without precedent on the road to economic prosperity for Brazil. The subsequent lowering of import barriers and tarifs will result in a strengthening of both economies, by increasing exports and imports, facilitating the transfer of ideas and technologies, and tying Brazil closer to Europe. It also implies a political partnership and has thus an encompassing nature. It will increase economic stability in the region, thus increasing investor confidence.
A general overview about nature and extense of the reached agreement:
A more in-depth look at the history of negotiations and details of the new free trade zone:
5. Clean and abundant renewable energy:
- sugarcane ethanol and hydroelectricity account for more than ¾ of Brazil´s energy balance
- world´s pioneer in flexible-fuel vehicles
- increasing focus on biomass, as derivative product of sugarcane ethanol production
- enormous growth potential of solar and wind energy
- regulatory incentives and direct financial investments by federal, state and municipal authorities
- accounts for more than 85.4% of the domestically produced electricity used in Brazil
6. Democratic and Institutional stability:
- stable electoral democracy since 1986
- free elections and universal suffrage
- strong political institutions, based on national consensus
- high degree of accountability
- strong federalism
- efficient legal system based on Roman-Germanic traditions
- high political stability of expectations
- Brazil is considered the most stable and crisis-resistant country in Latin America
7. Geopolitical stability:
- absence of crisis areas and political “hotspots”: geopolitically one of the calmest and securest regions in the world
- member of the OAS (Organisation of American States) and MERCOSUR
- internationally engaged
- strong economic and political ties to the BRIC Countries
8. Immense improvements in infrastructure
- structural and regional investments (development of the Northeast)
- see a more detailed list of current infrastructure projects below
Brazil offers a safe and outstanding investment environment and we consider it our task to introduce international investors to the best available opportunities, based on professonal consultancy and a wide range of services.
Brazil – The Granary of the World
One of the core areas that we focus in our investment consultancy are investments in Brazilian agriculture.
Not only due to its sheer landsize, but also due to its tradition as latin american breadbasket, Brazil has become one of the world´s foremost players in agriculture. Modern, efficient and competitive, the Brazilian agribusiness sector is a prosperous, safe and profitable activity with unsurpassed growth records. The prosperity of Brazilian agribusiness is a result of scientific and technological development in modernizing farming and expanding the industry of agricultural machinery and equipment.
The exemplary state of Tocantins (Brazil´s youngest state, founded in 1988) is considered Brazils granary, with almost perfect crop-growing conditions, ranging from fertile argile soils to an average rainfall of 1.700 mm per year.
In addition to having a diversified climate, regular rainfall, abundant solar energy and 12 percent of all the available fresh water on the planet, Brazil has plentiful land to plant crops. With 388 million acres of farmable, fertile land, the country has the potential to triple its current production of grains without the need for deforestation. In addition, with the productivity increase in the livestock industry, 30 percent of the 220 million hectares occupied by pasture may be incorporated into agricultural production.
According to forecasts of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), and the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), Brazil will be the world’s largest producer of agricultural products by the end of the decade and has already established itself as the third largest exporter of primary products.
In recent years, the country has developed and consolidated one of the most efficient cattle-raising systems in the world. This development has been achieved with low level tariff protections and minimal use of government subsidies. Production expansion was primarily due to productivity gains, backed with an efficient agricultural policy supported by extensive research and development. The agribusiness is responsible for approximately 25 percent of GDP and 40 percent of exports.
The success of the agricultural sector in Brazil also involves both scientific and technological development in the modernization of rural activity and expansion of agricultural machinery and implements industry. Agricultural research has enabled adapting crops to different types of climate and soil in the main production regions of Brazil.
The huge potential of Brazilian agribusiness, tied to quality technical-scientific research, opens up interesting possibilities for private investment in research and development in the country.
With a population of more than 190 million, Brazil has one of the largest consumer markets in the world. Today, two-thirds of the food produced in the country is consumed domestically and the rest is exported to more than 200 markets. In recent years, only a few countries have had such significant growth in international trade as Brazilian agribusiness. The ongoing investment in research and development contributes to the success of the country in the production and exportation of various products. It is the first producer and exporter of coffee, sugar and orange juice. In addition, it leads in foreign sales of beef, chicken, soybean oil, grains and bran, and tobacco.
That said, the investment opportunities in the agricultural sector are, per se, abundant.
Brazil´s Infrastructure – Taking Off
Until 2020 thousands of medium and large infrastructure projects are going to be completed and inaugurated (the major share of them of a private nature, indicating that the private sector is one step ahead compared to the public sector). All these represent “new fundamentals” in order to modernize and developmentally accelerate the country, including the reduction of the so called “Custo Brazil”. Let us thus take a look at some of these private, public and public-partnership projects:
- Large infrastructure investments by the federal government: the North-South Railway from Itaqui (Maranhão) to Anápolis (Goias) and an extension of this railway leading further to Estrela d´Oeste (São Paulo); the Northern Railway (Ferronorte) in Cuiabá which is a part of the Transnordestin Raily; Part of the Railway FIOL between Varreiras and Ilhéus; expansion/duplication of the Carajás Railway, part of the bridging across the Rio São Francisco; part of the conveying highway Agreste (in Pernambuco, 1.300 km) and the completion of the Pajeú highway, equally in Pernambuco (195 km); completion of the Sertão canal (250 km, Alagoas); completion of the Highway Cuiabá-Santarém (including access to the port of Miritituba); several new highways as well as overhauling of older ones, including privatized ones; 2.000 new agencies of the CEF (Caixa Economica Federal); around 5.000 small and medium-sized investments into health and education (according to PAC 2); around 1,5 million new habitations and residences, almost zeroing the “habitational deficit” of the country; around 400.000 new water and electricity connections (part of the program “Àgua e Luz para Todos” – “Water and Light for Everyone”) – practically zeroing the high anterior deficit.
- Large and medium-sized construction projects by the state and municipal governments: numerous metro stations in Sampa; hundreds of new hospital and first-aid-installations; thousands of kilometres of new sewer and drainage systems as well as water conduits, new schools (including reforms and expansions of already existing ones); hundreds of new sanitation embankments; new recycling and waste disposal installations, fulfilling the provisions of Law 12.305/2010
- Petroleum and gas: implantation of the petroleum exploration (pre-salt) at Campo de Libra; start of the construction of numerous new platforms and prospection/installation of new marine oil fields (PETROBRAS) in Sergipe (very large), Rio Grande do Norte (new pre-salt), Pará, São Paulo (Santos) and several other terrestrial oil fields in the interior of Paraíba and Ceará; installation of very large gas refineries in Maranhão and Minas Gerais;
- New huge ports and and terminals (TUP), indispensable for the currently overburdened port infrastructure: Large Port in Açu-Rio de Janeiro; another gigantic port in Itaguai-rio de Janeiro; new TEGRAN terminal in Itaguai/Maranhão (capable of storaging almost 10 % of the total corn production in Brazil); new terminal (Coopersucar) in Santos-São Paulo; installation of at least 30 TUP-terminals for private use; construction and handing over of numerous railway stations and highway hubs connecting to the large ports.
- Start of the mining exploration (iron ore) in Barmin (region of Caitité-Bahia), Honbridge (Salinas-Minas Gerais); in Porteirinha-Minas Gerais, of Vetria/ALL in Corumbá – Mato Grosso do Sul (very large); of AngloAmerican in the center of Minas Gerais (Guanhães e Conceição do Mato Dentro), including the “mineral-duct” leading to the super-port of Açu-Rio de Janeiro;
- Hydropower Plants (small and medium-sized) as well as solar plants and wind farms: around 30 new installations as well as renovation/overhauling of older ones; around 20 new windfarms in Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Piauí, Bahia, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina; installation of solar plants in Ceará and São Paulo.
Inflation, Interest Rate and Exchange Rate – Short Outlook – Review 3. August 2018
By Andreas Hahn
General Thoughts: Absolutely Essential for Economic and Investment Planning, however frequently
neglected: inflation, interest rates and exchange rates are crucial components of sustainable
investment planning, since they can determine future profit and costs on a macro-economic level,
sometimes even overcompensating operational numbers and aspects (location, demand, capacity
Abundant literature exists about the impact and current development of these core figures (a
selection of this literature you can also find here in the bibliography section). This very short text
aims at providing a regularly updated projection of these key figures, together with some
Inflation/CPI (Costumer Price Index):
Based on current publications and projections of FGV Fundação Getulio Vargas) and IPGE (Instituto
Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística), Inflation Rate in Brazil is expected to be 3.70 percent by the end
of this quarter, according to global macro models and analysts expectations. There has been a
monthly peak in june towards 4,3 % (due to the transitory impacts of the trucker strike). However,
looking forward, Inflation Rate in Brazil can be estimated to stand at 3.50 in 12 months time. In the
long-term, the Brazil Inflation Rate is projected to trend around 3.70 percent in 2020.
Thus, inflation rate continues on a historical low, thus contributing to a more competitive economic
environment and only small increases of prices and living costs. Albeit there is no deflation to be
expected in the near future, low inflation levels are very benevolent to investments, since they
increase stability of expectations, also in relation to the real estate market.
Interest Rates – SELIC Rate:
Similar to inflation, also the Interest rate, based on the SELIC Rate (the base interest rate established
by the Central Bank and the COPOM – Comitê de Política Monetária) continues on a record low. The
Central Bank of Brazil voted unanimously to hold its key Selic rate at 6.50 percent on August 1st as
widely expected, keeping borrowing costs at the lowest level in modern history amid below-target
inflation and mixed economic data. Interest Rate in Brazil averaged 15.17 percent from 1999 until
2018, reaching an all time high of 45 percent in March of 1999 and a record low of 6.50 percent in
March of 2018. Albeit a low interest rate usually impacts negatively on the exchange rate (investors
will predominantly invest in countries with higher interest rates), it impacts extremely positively on
economic development in general, decreasing overall price levels, making credit cheaper and
increasing returns on investment. It is expected that the interest rate will be maintained at this low
level towards the near future.
By definition, the exchange rate determines directly the purchasing power of foreign currencies. The
lower the exchange rate, that is the lower the value of the Brazilian Real towards the US-Dollar or the
Euro, the cheaper acquisitions in Brazil. However, a low exchange rate also implies lower returns on
investments in the long run, especially when it comes to the repatriation of funds. However, the
latter is only valid if the exchange rate stays on low levels. However, in a time series observation of
the Brazilian economy, starting from 1990 on, it gets very clear that the exchange rate is cyclical. The
value of the real decreases in crisis times or election years, and increases afterwards to international
“equilibrium” levels. When it comes to concrete investments into real estate, the recommendation is
The Brazilian real decreased in value against the U.S. dollar in April amid a wave of political noise in
the country. On 13 April, the real closed the day at 3.42 BRL per USD, which represented a 5.0%
depreciation over the same day of the previous month and marked its lowest value since December
2016. As of that date, the real had lost 3.3% of its value year-to-date and had fallen 8.8% compared
to the same day last year. That means acquisitions in Brazil are currently very cheap, thus it is
recommended to invest at this current point.
However, the cyclical model of exchange rate evolution shows clearly an increase of the exchange
rate in the post-electoral year, that is, increasing the value of the Brazilian Real, thus making
purchases in 2019, and probably 2020, more expensive. Considering this time series, the optimal
investment decision is to make the investment now, as long as the Real is low in value, and reap the
benefits of the investment at a later point when the Real is higher in value compared to international
currencies. Thus, in a sequential interpretation, the investor can benefit from both the low exchange
rate now, and a higher exchange rate in the future.
Further Reading and Current Articles (in English and Portuguese Language) about the Economic and Socio-Political Situation in Brazil (for more detailed publications and texts please see the Literature section):
- Brazil in a nutshell – General Information
- No more roller coaster ride for Brazilian housing market? – About the recovery of the Brazilian Housing Market (November 2017): https://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Latin-America/brazil/Price-History
- How did Brazil’s inflation rate get so low? (11. january 2018): https://brazilian.report/2018/01/11/brazils-inflation-rate-low/
- Low Country Risk due to high export numbers and strong foreign exchanges (22. april 2018): https://exame.abril.com.br/economia/exportacao-e-reserva-internacional-mantem-risco-pais-em-niveis-baixos/
- Mercado mantém projeções para a inflação e crescimento do PIB: https://g1.globo.com/economia/noticia/mercado-mantem-projecoes-para-a-inflacao-e-crescimento-do-pib.ghtml
- Economic Outlook Brazil (April 2018): https://www.focus-economics.com/countries/brazil
- Brazil’s home buyers bet on the ballot (October 19, 2018): https://www.ft.com/content/bbca3b3a-ce05-11e8-8d0b-a6539b949662 (This Article, written by Hugo Cox for the Financial Times, based on interviews, among others, with Dr. Andreas Hahn, focusses on potential changes in the real estate market in Brazil after the 2018 presidential elections – with a positive outlook for the upcoming Bolsonaro government.)
- Real Estate Investment Visa Introduced, a short Summary of the new Real Investment Visa, by Mike Smith. 27th of November 2018. (please click on the link)
- https://veja.abril.com.br/economia/governo-quer-dar-incentivo-fiscal-para-empresas-de-turismo-diz-ministro/ (The recent article in veja focusses on new fiscal incentives for touristic investments in all 26 states of Brazil)
- https://www.coface.com/Economic-Studies-and-Country-Risks/Brazil – A short updated overview about current macro-economic variables and a country risk assessment. The activity in Brazil is expected to gain some strength.