April 3, 2020


1. Bolsonaro administration offers benefits to informal workers and eases taxes

President Jair Bolsonaro approved a R$ 600 (USD $112.85) monthly benefit – for three months – to informal and temporary workers as well as owners of individual microenterprises. According to the government, the R$ 98 billion (USD $18.4 billion) being used in the emergency program to ease the impact of the coronavirus should benefit 54 million people. The payments are set to begin later this month, first to people registered with the Bolsa Família program. Another measure announced by the government revealed new rules to cut salaries – for up to 60 days – and working hours of formal employees by up to 100% for a maximum of three months. For companies with an annual revenue of less than R$ 4.8 million (USD $902,221), contracts can be suspended, and the government will pay a full monthly salary to the employee. Larger companies will have to foot the bill for at least 30% of the employees’ salaries. Rules also vary according to income. Officials expect to assure payments to 24.5 million workers. Combined, these measures will cost the administration R$ 224.6 billion (USD $42.2 billion). The coronavirus has killed over 300 people and infected thousands more in Brazil.

Folha de S.Paulo: Governo libera R$ 600 para trabalhadores informais
Valor Econômico: Pacote alivia empresas, mas gera dúvidas
Folha de S.Paulo: Medidas oficializadas têm impacto de R$ 224,6 bilhões
O Globo: Veja medidas anunciadas pelo governo
O Estado de S. Paulo: A conta vai chegar, diz colunista Celso Ming

2. Industrial sector expects an
USD $18.6 billion reduction in exports

The Brazilian National Confederation of Industry is expecting a downturn in exports this year. According to the institution, this decrease could total a minimum USD $18.6 billion – an 8.3% decrease in comparison to 2019. The Brazilian Foreign Trade Association believes that falling oil prices could lead to an even bigger loss in exports. Yesterday, central bank president Roberto Campos Neto presented an even darker prediction for the Brazilian economy, citing a projection made by The Economist Intelligence Unit of a 5.5% decrease in this year’s Brazilian Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The president of Itaú Unibanco, Candido Bracher, says that Brazil will not be able to escape a severe economic crisis with a steep drop in GDP, as expected in most countries. According to him, it is still too early to predict how growth will be resumed. According to Bracher, the priority must be health. “In order for us to escape the crisis, we first need to survive it.”

O Estado de S. Paulo: Indústria prevê queda de US$ 18,6 bilhões nas exportações
Valor Econômico: Presidente do BC vê cenário altamente recessivo
O Estado de S. Paulo: ‘Para sair da crise, precisamos sobreviver a ela’, diz Bracher

3. Real is the most devalued out of the 21 most important currencies

Out of the 21 primary currencies in the world, the Brazilian real was the most devalued in comparison with the American dollar. Quoted at R$ 4.01 on January 1st, the U.S. dollar reached a value of R$ 5.19 on Tuesday, March 31st. The real devalued 29.5% in this period, the third worst drop since Plano Real was created in 1994. Currencies that devalued less than the Brazilian real in the same period were the Russian ruble (27%) and the Mexican peso (26%). In other countries, the value of currencies increased in comparison to the U.S. dollar from January to March. The American currency became 5.5% cheaper in comparison to the British pound and 1.3% cheaper compared to the euro. Experts believe that one of the reasons for the devaluing is that the Brazilian real is one of the most frequently traded emerging currencies. Since the currency has high liquidity, it is prone to more speculation. Analysts believe that the U.S. dollar’s value at around R$ 5.20 is much higher than the actual cost of the currency, which indicates how uncertain investors are about the local and global economic situation.

CNN: Real é o mais depreciado entre 21 moedas
Folha de S.Paulo: Acompanhe o mercado financeiro em tempo real

4. Nearly 50% of Brazilians live in areas with cases of coronavirus

The number of highly populated cities with cases of coronavirus leaves nearly half of the Brazilian population potentially exposed to the disease. By Monday (March 30th), 362 Brazilian cities had confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a study by state health secretariats. Even though these cities represent only 6.5% of Brazilian municipalities, they are home to nearly 106 million people out of the country’s population of nearly 211 million. To give an idea of how fast the virus is spreading, in mid-March there were only 32 cities with confirmed cases of coronavirus. When it comes to emergency care for patients in serious condition, data shows that 33% of municipalities have fewer than ten ventilators in public and private hospitals. Yesterday, Minister of Health Luiz Henrique Mandetta said he had signed a R$ 1.2 billion (USD $225.6 billion) contract to acquire more ventilators and that – if necessary – Brazil will send planes to China to bring the equipment.

O Estado de S. Paulo: 106 milhões de pessoas moram onde há coronavírus
O Globo: Um terço das cidades é carente de respiradores
Folha de S.Paulo: Ministro diz que pode buscar respiradores na China
Folha de S.Paulo: Acompanhe notícias sobre a pandemia
OMS: Veja relatório global da OMS
G1: Assista a vídeos de orientação sobre o coronavírus

5. Companies in various sectors take part in solidarity network

Companies and individuals are taking part in volunteer work, which in turn boosts donations to the health sector and to people in need in Brazil. Organized groups are helping to collect money through the internet. Factories have changed their production logistics in an effort to meet the increased requirements for hand sanitizer, surgical masks and health equipment. The private sector is also assisting NGOs. Initiatives by executives also include buying ventilators and rapid coronavirus tests for hospitals, donating personal care and cleaning products to people in need, buying air tickets for health professionals or offering them car rental vouchers. There’s no official tab, but it is believed that public donations in Brazil have already reached billions of reais. A study by the Brazilian Fundraisers Association – which contacted NGOs, nonprofit institutions, companies and the public – reveals that over R$ 650 million (USD $122.2 million) has been donated in cash. The study does not include donations of products, food or services. “To me, it seems that no matter how you look at it, this is the largest resource mobilization that the country has ever seen. It is the largest solidarity movement in our recent history,” says the association’s executive director João Paulo Vergueiro.

O Estado de S. Paulo: Mais de R$ 650 milhões foram doados em dinheiro
Bem Paraná: Lista mostra algumas empresas doadoras no Brasil
O Estado de S. Paulo: Empresas fazem doações para reduzir impactos
GIF: Site mostra opções de contribuição
O Globo: Saiba como contribuir na luta contra o coronavírus
O Estado de S. Paulo: Sociedade civil se organiza contra o coronavírus