July 9, 2021
1. Bolsonaro disapproval hits record high 51% following accusations at COVID CPI
A Datafolha poll published this week shows that President Jair Bolsonaro’s disapproval rate has reached a record high of 51%. In a previous poll published in May by the same polling institute, 45% of people considered the administration to be bad or awful. The poll interviewed 2,074 people. The number of voters who considered the administration average dropped six points to 24% and the number of people who see it as good remains at 24%. The drop in the president’s popularity was highest among people earning up to R$ 2,200 (USD $418) a month – approximately 57% of Brazilians. The percentage of people among this group who disapprove of the government went from 45% to 54%. This week, increasingly serious accusations were made at the COVID CPI, a “super request for impeachment” was submitted to Congress and protests were held.
Yesterday, the CPI sent a letter to the president asking him to talk discuss accusations surrounding vaccine purchases. During a live stream on social media, Bolsonaro answered rudely: “Do you know what my answer is? I don’t give a sh*t. I don’t give a sh*t about the CPI. I will answer nothing,” he said. On Wednesday, the CPI ordered the arrest of former Ministry of Health Logistics Director Roberto Ferreira Dias, who was accused of lying during his deposition. He talked about the accusations of having requested USD $1 per dose of the vaccine and having sped up the irregular contract for the purchase of the drugs. Five hours later, Ferreira Dias paid the R$ 1,100 (USD $209) bail and left jail.
Folha de S.Paulo: Rejeição a Bolsonaro é recorde e chega a 51%
O Estado de S. Paulo: Bolsonaro se nega a responder CPI
O Globo: Suspeito de cobrar propina é preso na CPI
G1: Saiba mais sobre a CPI da Covid
2. Number of deaths, cases and hospitalizations drop, but Brazil registers cases of COVID Delta variant
Brazil has registered a 35% drop in the moving average of daily cases of COVID-19, the largest such drop since February 23rd. The average over the past seven days stood at 48,655 new cases per day. In June, the country registered a daily high of 77,295 new over 24 hours. A study by the National Association of Private Hospitals reveals that the occupation rate of ICU beds is also dropping – from 97% in March to 76.5% in June. In the public health system, according to a study by Fiocruz, occupation rates have also dropped. The average daily number of deaths fell below 1,500 this week, the lowest it has been since March. Over 530,000 people have died due to COVID in Brazil.
Experts say that these results are a consequence of mass vaccination. So far, 38.7% of Brazilians have received the first dose of the vaccine and more than 13.9% have received either both doses or a single dose vaccine. However, experts are monitoring cases and deaths caused by the arrival of the Delta variant of coronavirus in the country. According to the Ministry of Health, at least 16 cases of the Delta variant have been registered across six states (GO, MA, MG, PR, RJ and SP), resulting in two deaths – one in Maranhão and one in Paraná.
3. The rich should be ashamed of not paying taxes says economy minister
Days after sending a proposal to reform income tax to Congress, Economy Minister Paulo Guedes defended taxing dividends. During a public hearing at the Chamber of Deputies, the minister said: “There is no need to be ashamed of being rich, if you earned it. But you should be ashamed of not paying taxes.” He argued that he does not think it is wrong to change taxation from 0% to 20%. The government’s proposal also raises the tax exemption ceiling for individuals from R$ 1,903.98 to R$ 2,500.00. The proposal must be approved by senators and representatives to come into effect.
Guedes, who faced criticism from executives, indicated that he can reduce the Income Tax aliquot for company even further, going from 15% down to 5%. According to the minister, the reform proposed by the administration is correct in taxing the rich and easing taxes for the poor. “Brazil is a low-income country, with 75% of workers receiving less than 1.4 times the minimum wage. You can’t tax 30 million Brazilians with low incomes while – on the other side – 20,000 wealthy individuals receive R$ 400 billion (USD $76.05 billion) in dividends and had tax exemptions of 50 or 60 billion reais,” he said.
4. Inflation rate 0.53% for June; 8.35% increase over 12 months
Brazil’s official inflation rate for the month of June was 0.53% and the accumulated inflation for the past 12 months is at 8.35%. The price increase in June – resulting from the higher cost of electricity – indicates that the inflation rate will be much higher by December than the government’s prediction for the year of up to 5.25%. The rate – shared by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics – is the highest for the month of June since 2018. Out of the nine groups of products and services the institute monitors, eight registered an increase in prices in the last month.
Last month, the largest price increase was registered in the group of products and services related to housing (1.10% increase), mostly due to an increase in the cost of electricity (1.95%). Over the past 12 months, electricity bills have increased by a total of 14.2%. In the transport sector, the price of fuel increased by 0.87%, with an accumulated increase in the past 12 months of 43.92%. Gasoline (0.69%), ethanol (2.14%), diesel (1.10%) and natural gas (0.16%) also registered monthly price increases. The National Consumer Price Index – used as a base for salary increases – dropped by 0.6% in June. The index has registered a 3.95% increase since January and a 9.22% increase in the past 12 months.
5. Retail sector registers an increase in sales for the second consecutive month
A study by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) shows that seven out of the eight retail sectors examined have registered an increase in sales for the month of May. According to the Monthly Commerce Research, sales have increased 1.4% in comparison to April, the second consecutive increase in 2021. The accumulated increase for the past 12 months is 5.4%. The fabrics, clothing and footwear sector was the one with the highest increase, with 16.8%. The fuel and lubricants (6.9%) and personal use products (6.7%) sectors also registered significant increases in sales. The only sector that registered a drop was the pharmaceutical sector (-1.4%).
This week, IBGE also announced that it is changing the March index from -1.1% to -3% and the April index from 1.8% to 4.9%. They argue that there need to be seasonal adjustments. Since March 2020, according to the institute, the traditional sales standard changed due to the schedule of holidays. When taking into consideration the retail of building materials, vehicles and auto parts – which are not counted in the aforementioned 8 sectors – sales increased by 3.8% in May for the second consecutive month of improved sales.
O Globo: Vendas no varejo crescem 1,4%