January 15, 2021


1. Bolsonaro and Doria promise vaccination for next week, fighting over the first day of immunization

Brazilians will begin to be vaccinated against the coronavirus in the next few days. According to the Federal Government, vaccination could begin on the 20th with a National Vaccination Campaign. The state government of São Paulo – a partner of the Chinese lab Sinovac, manufacturer of the CoronaVac vaccine – plans for vaccinations to begin on the 25th at the latest. The situation reflects the political disputes between President Jair Bolsonaro and Governor João Doria. Both are aiming to run for president in 2022 and they both want to be the first to begin immunization.

During a meeting with mayors, Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said that this month he wants to use 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 3 million doses of CoronaVac, which is stored in São Paulo. He said that he believes the government will be able to vaccinate over 30 million people in February and 80 million in April. Doria, said that he might bring the vaccination campaign forward, as soon as the federal government approves the use of the Chinese vaccine, which could happen on Sunday. During a live stream with the press, the governor said the President “likes the smell of death” and leads “a sea of incompetence.”

Valor Econômico: Vacinação deve começar na semana que vem
O Estado de S. Paulo: Ministro promete atender a todos estados
Valor Econômico: Doria diz que pode antecipar vacinação
Valor Econômico: Bolsonaro ‘gosta do cheiro da morte’, diz Doria
G1: Acompanhe notícias sobre a pandemia

2. With no oxygen, patients in Manaus die; number of COVID-19 cases in Brazil reaches record high

A surge in COVID-19 cases has led to chaos in the public health system in the state of Amazonas. The oxygen tank supply ran out in many hospitals in the state capital of Manaus and many patients have died from suffocation. The federal government will move 230 patients to other states. The situation is critical in most states in the country. Yesterday, Brazil registered the highest moving average of cases since the beginning of the pandemic. In the past seven days, there were 56,453 new cases of coronavirus contamination every 24 hours on average, a record increase since the pandemic began.

The number of deaths due to COVID-19 has increased 42% in comparison to the past 14 days. Yesterday, 1,151 people died, a moving average of 1,000 deaths per day. According to the latest report, 12 states registered an increase in the number of daily deaths: Amapá, Ceará, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, Paraná, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Sergipe, Tocantins and Amazonas. Sixteen states and the Federal District registered stability in the number of deaths, but they are still high. Only Acre registered a drop in the numbers of the disease. The country has registered 207,000 deaths due to the virus so far and 8 million people have tested positive for the disease.

G1: Manaus vive caos com falta de oxigênio
O Globo: Média de novos casos de coronavírus bate recorde
O Estado de S. Paulo: Explosão de casos é de nova cepa
IRRD Covid-19: Veja o mapeamento de casos no Brasil e no mundo

3. 2020 inflation rate hits 4.52%, but reaches 18.2% for consumers 

This week, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) has shared the official inflation rate for 2020: 4.52%. The number is higher than the inflation rate for 2019 (4.31%) and above the administration’s aim of 4%. In December, the inflation rate was 1.35%, the highest monthly rate since February 2003 as well as a record high for the last month of the year since 2002, when inflation was at 2.10%. When it comes to food items, there was an 18.2% increase in prices.

The food and beverage sector bore the largest responsibility for the increased inflation rates, with 14.1% inflation. These sectors were responsible for 60% of the annual inflation rate. The price of soy oil, for example, had the largest increase with 103.79%. It is followed by rice (76.01%), potatoes (62.27%) and tomatoes (52.76%). Economists say that the pandemic and changes in consumer habits have caused the rate to increase.

Valor Econômico: Inflação tem maior aumento mensal desde 2003

4. Closure of Ford factories puts political subsidies for car manufacturers in check

This week, President Jair Bolsonaro’s economy team has received a cautionary sign: after 102 years in Brazil, Ford has decided to close its factories. Along with the direct financial impact of the pandemic on business, the automotive sector complained about high tax rates, low productivity, high labor costs and the imminent shrinkage of the market for gas-powered vehicles.

According to the association of vehicle manufacturers, the administration is not moving forward with reforms, which has led to insecurity among investors. The sector receives subsidies and this year alone it should get R$ 5.9 billion (USD$1.12 billion) in tax exemptions. In December, Mercedes-Benz also announced that it would halt car production in Brazil. According to a specialist, “the internal market has imploded” due to low revenue: from US$ 87 billion in 2013, the sector made just US$ 54 billion in 2019.

O Estado de S. Paulo: Saída da Ford acende luz amarela de montadoras
Folha de S.Paulo: Subsídios ao setor somam R$ 69 bilhões em 21 anos
UOL: Economista aponta implosão do mercado interno
O Estado de S.Paulo: Socorro de matrizes chega a US$ 69 bilhões em 6 anos

5. Negotiation of government jobs and amendments affect Congressional election

The President’s interference with Congressional leadership has indicated how political forces could play out next year. Jair Bolsonaro is directly supporting Representative Arthur Lira (PP) for the Chamber of Deputies and Senator Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM) for Senate. Voting will take place on February 3rd, but negotiations are ongoing. In a single day, Bolsonaro had meetings with seven members of Congress.

Offers of jobs in government and promises to make public resources available for parliamentary amendments are some of the tools used in negotiations, according to members of Congress. In the Chamber of Deputies, Bolsonaro is trying to weaken the candidacy of Baleia Rossi (MDB), who currently has the support of the House President Rodrigo Maia and most of the opposition. In the Senate, the PT has shown tentative support for the administration candidate, who is also supported by current Senate President Davi Alcolumbre (DEM). Alcolumbre said that he might take over a ministry after the election.

O Estado de S. Paulo: Bolsonaro polariza eleições no Congresso
O Globo: Alcolumbre diz que pode aceitar ministério