May 29, 2020


1. Federal Supreme Court breaks Bolsonaro’s allies’ secrecy in fake news investigation

The Federal Police complied with 29 search and seizure warrants in five states and in the Federal District, following an inquiry opened by the Federal Supreme Court to investigate threats, offensive statements and defamatory claims made against Justices and their families. Former representative Roberto Jefferson, the president of PTB who has been implicated in corruption scandals in the past, was targeted by the police operation. Executive Luciano Hang – a supporter of Jair Bolsonaro since he was a presidential candidate – social media activists, six federal representatives and two state representatives were also targeted. Members of the government are being careful when analyzing this Federal Supreme Court inquiry. Four executives had their banking and financial secrecy broken, as they are suspected of financing the crimes. As the investigation includes 2018, the year of the presidential race, the administration fears the findings could be taken to the Electoral Justice, where there are lawsuits asking for the repeal of the Jair Bolsonaro and Hamilton Mourão ticket. The President was annoyed with the operation. “It’s done! I am sorry for being frank. It’s done! We can’t allow the actions of certain people,” he said. According to him, he no longer has the willingness to follow “absurd orders”. It was a tense week for the president following the release of a video in which Bolsonaro can be seen cursing and ministers are heard making very serious and controversial statements, as well as survey results showing that the public’s rejection rate of Bolsonaro now stands at 43% – a record high not seen since 1989 during the José Sarney administration. Bolsonaro has been president for 500 days. His approval rating remains stable at 33%.

Valor Econômico: Operação da PF tem apoiadores de Bolsonaro como alvos
O Globo: Ministro quebra sigilo de empresários investigados
Folha de S.Paulo: Rejeição a Bolsonaro bate recorde de 43%
O Estado de S. Paulo: Aliados investigados têm 19 milhões de seguidores
O Globo: Bolsonaro critica decisão do STF e desabafa: ‘Acabou, porra!’

2. São Paulo to ease restrictions after two months of quarantine

Starting on Monday, the state of São Paulo will begin to ease its social isolation measures, which were implemented to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The quarantine measures, which began a little over two months ago, suspended most of the economic activities of the state. The new rules to ease restrictions divide the state into risk areas, considering reductions in the number of cases, mortality rate and occupancy rate in ICUs at public and private hospitals. The colors red, orange, yellow, green and blue were attributed to each city in the state, indicating different phases of the process. The color blue, for example, indicates cities that were able to control the disease and have a low ICU occupancy rate, which are therefore being authorized to reopen their economies as long as social distancing and hygiene rules are followed. In the metropolitan region of São Paulo only the state capital is classified as orange, meaning that it can reopen some activities. Other cities are classified as red and can only keep essential activities operating. São Paulo’s City Hall says that there is no set date to resume economic activities and that everything will be analyzed to ensure a safe return to normalcy. The state of São Paulo is the epicenter of the disease in Brazil. The country has registered over 27,000 deaths and 438,000 confirmed cases of the disease.

Valor Econômico: São Paulo começa a flexibilizar quarentena
Folha de S.Paulo: Capital não tem data para reabertura, diz prefeito
O Estado de S. Paulo: Cidades com aumento de casos poderão reabrir lojas
O Estado de S. Paulo: Entenda as regras de flexibilização em SP

3. The majority of people want lockdown, but resistance to isolation increases

The majority of Brazilians are in favor of harsher restriction measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the country, but there is growing resistance to social isolation. According to a Datafolha poll, 60% of Brazilians are in favor of lockdown and 36% are against it. Support for harsher isolation measures is higher in the Northeast region (69% of people) and lower in the South (54%). Although the majority of Brazilians support lockdown measures, 35% of people admit to going out, an increase in comparison to the numbers in April: 24% in the first week, 26% in the third week and 27% in the last week. The poll showed that 50% of people only go out when necessary, which was the same result as in April. The poll also measured the outlook of people in relation to getting back to normal. According to 40% of people interviewed, normality could only return within 4 to 12 months, while 9% of people believe activities could get back to normal in two months, 10% believe things will return to normal in three months and 8% said 3 to 4 months. The way the President has been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic was also analyzed by the survey and 50% of people disapprove of Bolsonaro’s handling of the situation.

Folha de S.Paulo: Maioria defende lockdown, mas isolamento cai
Folha de S.Paulo: 50% reprovam medidas do presidente
O Estado de s. Paulo: Leia mais sobre a pandemia e crise econômica
IRRD Covid-19: Veja o mapeamento de casos no Brasil e no mundo
Ministério da Saúde: Veja Informações sobre o coronavírus no país

4. Brazil sees 860,500 jobs lost in a month

According to data from the General Register of Employed and Unemployed Persons (CAGED), the Brazilian job market saw 860,503 terminations in the month of April alone. The information was disclosed by the Ministry of Economy for the first time this year. It is the worst result for the month of April since 1992. Along with the results for March, which show that 240,702 jobs were lost, the coronavirus crisis has led to 1.1 million employees losing their employment. According to CAGED – which gets its information from Brazilian companies – there were 598,596 hires and 1,459,099 terminations in 2019. Every sector of the economy has been affected by the crisis. In total, 450,707 jobs were lost in the Southeast region, 202,805 in the South, 126,834 in the Northeast, 27,069 in the North and 53,057 in the Center-West. The state of São Paulo registered the highest number of terminations with 260,902 jobs being lost. In January and February of 2020, the federal administration registered 113,155 and 224,818 formal job openings respectively in the Brazilian economy.

Valor Econômico: País fecha mais de 860 mil vagas em apenas um mês
G1: Em dois meses, 1,1 milhão de trabalhadores foram demitidos

5. Following 2 months of lows, confidence in businesses increases

The Business Confidence Index increased in May, according to the Brazilian Institute of Economics at Fundação Getúlio Vargas. The index went from 61.2 in April to 67.4 in May. The poll interviewed 667 companies from May 4th to May 22nd. The crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic had already led to a 39-point drop in confidence in the last couple of months. Even though there has been an increase, analysts say that confidence is still low as the May results represent only 16% of what was lost in March. The research also measured levels of consumption during the crisis. Consumption is high only in supermarkets, groceries stores and pharmacies. Other sectors had a drop of 15 points in consumption. “It is still too early to determine a consistent recovery process as there is a high level of uncertainty in the market and most consumers are being careful,” says Rodolpho Tobler, research coordinator at the FGV institute.

G1: Confiança do comércio volta a subir em maio