quinta-feira, 31 de julho de 2008

STRONG ECONOMY PROPELS BRAZIL TO WORLD STAGE

STRONG ECONOMY PROPELS BRAZIL TO WORLD STAGE
Segue a segunda parte daa reportagem do The Nes York Time sobre o Brasil:
Strong Economy Propels Brazil to World Stage
(Page 2 of 2)
At Casas Bahia, a modestly priced Brazilian furniture-store chain, the number of customers buying items on installment nearly tripled to 29.3 million from 2002 to 2007, said Sônia Mitaini, a company spokeswoman.
Other signs of new wealth abound. In Macaé, an oil boomtown near Rio de Janeiro, contractors are racing to finish new shopping malls and luxury housing to keep up with demand from oil-service firms. At a port in Angra dos Reis, a town known for its spectacular islands, some 25,000 workers have found jobs building oil platforms.
Petrobras, Brazil’s national oil company, shocked the oil world in November when it announced that its Tupi deepwater field offshore of Rio de Janeiro could hold five billion to eight billion barrels of oil. Analysts think there could be billions of barrels more in surrounding areas.
While the oil will be expensive and complicated to extract, Petrobras has said it expects to be producing up to 100,000 barrels a day from Tupi by 2010, and hopes to produce up to a million barrels a day in about a decade.
The new oil plays are setting off an investment boom in Rio de Janeiro, with an estimated $67.6 billion expected to flow into the state by 2010, according to the Rio de Janeiro State Federation of Industries, an industry group. Petrobras alone expects to invest $40.5 billion by 2012.
Some economists say a slowdown in the rest of the world’s economy, especially in Asia, which is soaking up much of Brazil’s exports of soybeans and iron ore, could crimp growth here. “But that probability is small,” said Alfredo Coutiño, the senior economist for Latin America for Moody’s Economy.com.
In fact, because Brazil’s economy has become so diversified in recent years, the country is less susceptible to a hangover from the struggling United States economy.
Brazil’s exports to the United States represent just 2.5 percent of Brazil’s gross national product, compared with 25 percent of G.N.P. for Mexican exports, according to Moody’s.
“What makes Brazil more resilient is that the rest of the world matters less,” said Don Hanna, the head of emerging market economics at Citibank.
The rest of the world certainly has helped. Soaring prices for minerals and other commodities have created a new class of super rich. The number of Brazilians with liquid fortunes exceeding $1 million grew by 19 percent last year, third behind China and India, according to a survey by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini.
At the same time, President da Silva has deepened many of the social programs begun 10 years ago under Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who as president ushered in many of the structural reforms that laid the foundations of Brazil’s stable growth today.
In Ms. Sousa’s case, for instance, she owes much of the success of her underwear business to loans she has received from the Bank of the Northeast, a government-financed bank that has awarded microloans to 330,000 people to develop businesses in this fast-growing region.
Other programs, like Bolsa Familia, give small subsidies to millions of poor Brazilians to buy food and other essentials. Bolsa Familia, which benefits 45 million people nationwide in distributing an annual budget of about $5.6 billion, has been far more effective at raising per-capita incomes than recent increases in the minimum wage, which has risen 36 percent since 2003.
The bottom-up nature of such social programs has helped expand formal and informal employment as well as the Brazilian middle class. The number of people under the poverty line — defined as those earning less than $80 a month — fell by 32 percent from 2004 to 2006, Mr. Neri said.
The programs have been particularly effective here in Brazil’s northeast, historically one of poorest parts of the country. Residents here have received more than half the $15.6 billion doled out in social programs from 2003 to 2006, according to Empresa de Pesquisa Energetica, an arm of the Energy Ministry.
People here are using that new wealth to buy items like televisions and refrigerators at a faster rate than the rest of the country. The northeast, in fact, passed the country’s south in electricity use this year for the first time, the energy agency said.
Many families have bridged the gap to the middle class by using Bolsa Familia to meet basic needs, and then applying for small loans to start businesses and escape the informal economy. That is what Maria Auxiliadora Sampaio and her husband did in Fortaleza, a coastal city of 2.4 million people. They were receiving Bolsa Familia payments of about $30 a month, which they used to support their three children. Then, two years ago, Ms. Sampaio used a microloan of about $190 to buy nail polish and kick-start her manicure business, which she runs from home.
Today she is making around $70 a day — about four minimum salaries per month, she said. With her next loan she plans to put about $140 toward a stove to sterilize nail clippers, which today she does with hot water.
The fruits of her new business have allowed the couple to retile their house and buy a television and a cellphone. This month her husband, who works at a Cachaça factory, was able to realize a dream: to buy a drum set.
He plans to use it in a band that plays forró, a traditional music in the northeast. “We always ate and paid bills, but he waited and waited,” and finally bought the set for about $780, she said.
“I feel like we are part of this group of people that are coming up in the world,” said Ms. Sampaio, 28. “When you don’t have anything, when you don’t have a profession, don’t have the means to live, you are no one, you are a mosquito. I was nothing. Today, I am in heaven.”
"O Brasil realmente está mudando com o Presidente Lula."

2 comentários:

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Anônimo disse...

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