January 29, 2021


1. Brazil waits for 15 million doses of the vaccine in February and discovers mutating virus

Instituto Butantan and Fiocruz believe they will have 15 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine in February: 5 million doses of CoronaVac and 10 million of the AstraZeneca vaccine. A new variant of the virus has been detected in some Brazilian states and in other countries during the ongoing second wave of the pandemic. ICUs are close to maximum capacity in many places. Global research reveals that Brazil fared the worst among 98 countries in managing the pandemic. The country has seen over 221,000 deaths and 9 million people have contracted the virus.

Brazil has not yet managed to unify the criteria for vaccination, which has caused confusion as there are different rules depending on states and cities. Meanwhile, businessowners representing 45% of the Brazilian GDP have been authorized by President Jair Bolsonaro to negotiate importing vaccines for their employees, under the condition that they donate at least half of the doses to the public health system. The initiative has started an ethical discussion on the privileged use of the drug.

O Globo: Brasil terá mais 15 milhões de doses de vacina
UOL: Nova variante do Covid está em todo país
Folha de S.Paulo: Brasil é o pior em gestão da pandemia
O Globo: Com aval de Bolsonaro, entidades buscam vacina
Valor Econômico: Grandes empresas temem reação negativa
G1: Acompanhe notícias sobre a pandemia

2. Increase in the number of COVID cases reopens discussion over emergency aid

The worsening of the pandemic has restarted the discussion over emergency aid. A poll shows that President Jair Bolsonaro’s popularity dropped from 6 points to 31% among people who classify his administration as good/great. The private sector strongly opposes reactivating the benefit, claiming that the federal government has been ineffective in dealing with the pandemic, causing negative political and economic repercussions.

According to Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, if the death rate continues to grow, the government may reinstate the emergency aid while freezing expenditures on health and education by declaring a state of public emergency. A poll shows that 69% of Brazilians who received the benefit have not found another source of income to replace it. Congress plans to discuss the issue in February, after the elections for the new presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate.

Valor Econômico: Piora da pandemia eleva pressão por novo auxílio
Folha de S.Paulo: Guedes admite volta do auxílio emergencial
Valor Econômico: Para empresários, crise política compromete retomada
Folha de S.Paulo: 69% dos beneficiados pelo auxílio não acharam outra renda

3. Foreign investments in Brazil fell 50% in 2020, according to UNCTAD

Last year, Brazil had the largest drop in foreign investments among developing countries at 50% in comparison to 2019. The preliminary data was published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). According to the report, Brazil received a total of USD $33 billion from foreign investors in 2020, which led to the Brazilian economy dropping two spots to the eighth in the UN foreign investment ranking.

The influx of foreign investments in Latin America fell by 37% in 2020. In South America alone, foreign investment dropped 46% – a USD $60 billion loss. Peru (76%), Brazil (50%), Colombia (49%) and Argentina (47%) had the largest decreases. According to UNCTAD, Brazil’s performance was due to the pause in privatizations during the pandemic, along with structural problems.

Valor Econômico: Investimento estrangeiro cai 50% em 2020

4. Number of indebted households at highest level in 15 years, but consumer defaults drop

The number of Brazilian families in debt has reached a record high in 2020. According to data from the Central Bank in October, households are responsible for 50.26% of the debt registered in the financial system over the past 12 months. The high rate of debt renegotiation has affected the results. This figure represented the largest number of families in debt since 2005. In 2019 this percentage stood at 44.79%. The level of debt accumulates to an average of 21.65% of families’ income, compared to 20.14% in 2019.

The Central Bank, however, has registered a drop in consumer default in Brazil. According to the bank, the rate of delayed payments has dropped from 5.6% to 4.5%. Experts say that the situation might get worse this year due to increased interest rates and unemployment as well as a lack of emergency aid and the end of other financial benefit programs created during the coronavirus pandemic.

Valor Econômico: Endividamento aumenta, mas inadimplência cai

5. Nearing the date of Congressional elections, administration offers money for proposals from members of Congress 

The federal government has offered R$ 3 billion (USD $550.46 million) for construction works requested by 250 representatives and 35 senators. The distribution of money from the Ministry of Regional Development aims to gather support for Jair Bolsonaro’s legislative candidates. Along with money, the administration has also offered jobs to those who agree to vote for their candidates. The candidates have promised to halt investigations that could potentially harm the government.

The vote will take place next week and the president has directly acted in favor of his candidates, offering jobs to supporters. Yesterday, Bolsonaro dismissed Minister of Agriculture Tereza Cristina and Minister of Citizenship Onyx Lorenzoni, so they can vote in Congress. In the Chamber of Deputies, the opposition candidate has lost support as the election approaches. In Senate, the MDB candidate has been abandoned by her party, who has made a deal with Bolsonaro supporters. She decided to run independently.

O Estado de S. Paulo: Governo agrada parlamentares com liberação de verba
O Estado de S. Paulo: Candidatos governistas prometem barrar CPIs
O Globo: Reforma ministerial pode entrar na negociação
O Estado de S. Paulo: Centrão cobiça Saúde e Bolsa Família em troca de apoio