Posts Tagged ‘Brazil’

Emerging-Market Stress Just Begun as Record Debt Wall Looms

May 23, 2018

Emerging-market companies and governments straining to deal with the rising cost of borrowing in dollars face increasing pressure as a record slew of bonds come due.

Some $249 billion needs to be repaid or refinanced through next year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s a legacy of a decade-long debt binge during which emerging markets more than doubled their borrowing in dollars, ignoring the many lessons of history from the 1980s Latin American debt crisis, the 1990s Asian financial crisis and the 2000s Argentine default.

Even since the 2013 taper tantrum, the group’s dollar debt has climbed in excess of $1 trillion — more than the combined size of the Mexican and Thai economies, Institute of International Finance data show.

Even those that have been effective in building local-currency debt markets aren’t invulnerable from the Federal Reserve-led rollback in global liquidity. That’s because of the significant presence of overseas investors sensitive to shifts in advanced economies.

“We look to be in for a pretty rough patch near term,” says Sonja Gibbs, senior director for capital markets in Washington at the IIF, an association of the world’s biggest banks. “The sharper the rise in the dollar and rates, the greater the near-term contagion risk.” Rising U.S. rates will have a knock-on effect even in local debt markets, she said.

The following charts showcase some points of stress.

China has far and away the most dollar debt coming due through next year among emerging markets. Though much of the debt is also owned by Chinese investors, strains have become clear in recent weeks, with some companies unable to issue at their preferred amounts and maturities, and others, unusually, marketing floating-rate notes.

Despite having defaulted in the early 2000s, Argentina has issued so much dollar debt that it ranks No. 4 on the list — a testament in part to the impact that unprecedented U.S., European and Japanese monetary stimulus had in spurring a global hunt for yield since the 2007-09 financial crisis.

Turkey has the largest foreign debt load relative to gross domestic product, and perhaps not coincidentally has one of the worst-performing currencies against the dollar this year, down about 20 percent. Only Argentina’s peso has done worse among 24 emerging nations tracked by Bloomberg — another country that ranks high on the debt metric.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields have climbed this month to their highest since 2011, punching through 3 percent, even with the Fed less than half way done in its rate-hiking plans. And Jamie Dimon is warning of 4 percent yields to come. Fed forecasts suggest a peak in the policy rates in 2020 — also the medium-term crest for developing-market debt maturities, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Dollar debt makes up more than three quarters of emerging market foreign-currency debt, which stood at $8.3 trillion at the end of 2017, IIF data show. But local-currency obligations can also be caught in the fray. Countries from Malaysia to Mexico saw an influx of foreign money into their securities amid the global yield grab that could reverse as benchmark developed-nation rates climb. China’s local currency bonds — until recently largely inaccessible to global buyers — is more insulated from swings in global investor sentiment.

One reason overseas funds flocked to these economies is attractive growth rates, combined with inflation much lower than previous decades. That’s a powerful buffer for headwinds from higher rates. Domestic emerging-market growth “remains resilient,” and areas with “early-cycle” stories such as South Africa and Latin America are positioned for a bounce-back in risk appetite in coming months, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts said May 16.

And while debt dynamics are flashing warnings, some other metrics are more cheery — read more here.

Even so, the rapid build-up in debt over the past decade has alarmed some — including Harvard economist Carmen Reinhart, who made headlines saying emerging markets are worse off today than during the 2008 crisis and 2013 taper tantrum.

“This is not gloom-and-doom, but there are a lot of internal and external vulnerabilities now that were not there during the taper tantrum,” she said last week.

(Updates with lira plunge in first paragraph under third chart.)
 Updated on 

Rising Dollar Sparks Tumult in Emerging Markets

May 21, 2018

U.S. currency’s rally puts spotlight on weaknesses in a broad range of emerging-market assets

No automatic alt text available.


The Wall Street Journal

A resurgent dollar is exposing weaknesses in the developing world, pushing investors to unwind long-held bets on emerging-market stocks, bonds and currencies…

Ripples from the dollar’s comeback have spread. Indonesia’s central bank on Thursday raised interest rates for the first time in four years to arrest a drop in its currency; Hong Kong’s monetary authorities last week stepped in to prop up the territory’s weakening dollar. The Turkish lira fell to fresh lows against the U.S. dollar, while Brazil’s real declined to its weakest level in more than two years. The MSCI Emerging Market Index, which measures stock performance, is down 11% from its January highs as of Friday.

Investors have piled into emerging-market stocks and bonds for the last several years, often glossing over important macroeconomic or political issues as they sought returns that dwarfed those found in the developed world. Now that the dollar is strengthening and U.S. yields rising, those shortcomings are becoming more glaring. A rising dollar makes it more difficult for countries to service debt denominated in the U.S. currency, while rising yields diminish the attractiveness of foreign assets.

“The markets are now realizing they have to pay attention to fundamentals and assessing which countries are the most vulnerable,” said Mark McCormick, North American head of FX strategy at TD Securities.

Danger ZoneFX reserves as a percentage of externalfinancing needsSource: Institute of International Finance
Danger zoneThailandRussiaKoreaPhilippinesChinaBrazilIndiaMexicoColombiaHungaryEgyptMalaysiaCzech Rep.IndonesiaChileSouth AfricaPolandArgentinaUkraineTurkey0%200400600

Investors are particularly nervous about nations with large current-account deficits, which comprise goods and services, trade and investment income, and those that rely on foreign investment to finance government spending, or fiscal deficits. Their dependence on the rest of the world for trade and government finances leaves them badly exposed when the dollar rises.

Argentina, whose currency and stock market plunged in recent weeks amid fears of a brewing financial crisis, carries both a current-account and a fiscal deficit. Other emerging markets with large current-accounts gaps include Turkey, with a deficit that stood at 5.5% at the end of 2017, as well as Colombia, South Africa, Indonesia, India and Mexico.

The current-account deficit “captures living beyond your means,” said Robin Brooks, chief economist at the Institute of International Finance.

Politics are another worry. Mexico’s peso, a top performer last quarter, has been dogged by concerns over the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and a looming presidential election. Even the recent climb in oil prices has barely helped the currency of oil-producing Russia, where worries of fresh U.S. sanctions against Moscow have dented the ruble.

As volatility spreads throughout emerging-market assets, investors who had arrived relatively recently are looking toward the exits, said Tim Atwill, head of investment strategy for Parametric Portfolio Associates.

“There is this large amount of new investors who have only experienced the good days. They’ll start leaving. They’re not used to the riskiness,” he said.

Jumps in the dollar and U.S. yields have burned emerging-market investors before. Many developing countries borrowed heavily in dollars and kept their currencies tightly pegged to the U.S. currency in the 1990s. A swift dollar rally forced them to raise interest rates and push up their own currencies to unsustainable levels, damaging exports, hurting growth and eventually setting off the Asian financial crisis in 1997.

Developing countries had largely loosened their currency pegs and built up reserves by 2013. Still, many swooned that year when yields shot higher after then-Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated the central bank might wind down its bond-buying program in an episode known as the “taper tantrum.”

Today, some emerging economies may be at least partially shielded by robust growth rates, analysts said. The IMF’s April forecasts, made before the recent turmoil, projected India’s growth at 7.4% and expected both Indonesia and Malaysia to grow by 5.3%.

And others have shored up their finances. Countries including South Africa, Mexico and Brazil have narrowed their current-account deficits, and some have promised or launched economic and political reforms.

Still, that may not be enough. While Asia’s economies are growing briskly, others are struggling: Argentina is expected to grow at just 2% this year, Mexico at 2.3%, Colombia at 2.7%, Brazil at 2.3%, and South Africa at 1.5%.

Plus, some analysts believe a continued rise in the dollar and U.S. yields will punish comparatively healthy emerging markets alongside more vulnerable ones. In 2013, for example, fears of a slowdown in China and a drop in commodity prices sparked a three-year drop in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

The stronger dollar “is slowing the flow of loose money floating around the world, looking for something to do with itself,” said Kit Juckes, a strategist at Société Générale. “The world tends to be a much happier place when the dollar is not going up.”

Write to Ira Iosebashvili at, Josh Zumbrun at and Julie Wernau at

44 missing in Sao Paulo squatter-building blaze and collapse: firefighters — “31 fire department vehicles, 78 firefighters” involved

May 2, 2018

Image may contain: outdoor

 Police officers look as firefighters work to extinguish the fire in a 24-story building that collapsed after catching fire in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Tuesday. | AFP-JI

Forty-four people were listed as still missing Wednesday after a 24-storey building used by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city’s fire department said.

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster on Tuesday only three were unaccounted for, including one man who was seconds from being successfully rescued by firefighters before the building suddenly crashed down.


“The fire department is continuing to search, currently with 31 vehicles, 78 firefighters,” the department tweeted.

“44 missing.”

There was no indication whether the large number of missing were considered likely to have been killed and buried under the rubble, or whether they simply were not there at the time.

The building, a disused former police headquarters, was occupied by 146 homeless families, officials say, blaming lack of even basic fire prevention measures for the accident.

Officials have not given a specific cause for the blaze.

Sao Paulo is Brazil’s financial capital and the most populous city in Latin America, but suffers huge economic inequality. Poor families often squat in disused buildings or set up tents and shacks on vacant land, sometimes next to wealthy areas.

President Michel Temer, who is Brazil’s most unpopular leader on record, with single-digit approval ratings, got a hostile reception when he briefly visited the scene.

“We want housing!” a crowd chanted before he hurriedly left.


New graft charges filed against Brazil’s Lula

May 1, 2018

Brazilian prosecutors have filed new graft charges against imprisoned Workers’ Party founder and ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, as well as the party’s current chief.


© AFP/File | The Solaris luxury seaside building where jailed former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva allegedly owns a triplex apartment that he received as a bribe, a charge he denies

Lula and Senator Gleisi Hoffmann, along with former Lula government ministers Antonio Palocci and Paulo Bernardo, allegedly were promised $40 million by corruption-riddled construction giant Odebrecht.

The fund “was in exchange for political decisions that would benefit the group,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement late Monday.

 Image result for Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva,, photos
former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

Workers’ Party politicians used the slush fund to finance campaigns, including Hoffmann’s failed 2014 run for governor of Parana state, it said.

Lula was jailed in April to start serving a 12-year sentence for accepting a seaside apartment as a bribe from another huge Brazilian construction company, OAS.

He faces six more graft cases but says he has been framed in order to prevent him from running in October’s presidential election, for which he leads opinion polls.

Hoffmann, leader of the Workers’ Party, said the new charges were “founded on unproven allegations.”

“In addition to being false, they don’t make sense, because they attempt to link decisions in 2010 with a campaign in 2014,” she tweeted.

The charges are part of operation “Car Wash,” Brazil’s biggest ever anti-graft crackdown. It has targeted several former presidents, current President Michel Temer and politicians from all major parties.

Investigators discovered that politicians and their parties were allegedly taking money from Odebrecht and other big companies in exchange for political favors and contracts with state oil company Petrobras.

EU unhappy with Trump’s metal tariffs ‘prolong uncertainty’

May 1, 2018

The European Union accused the United States on Tuesday of prolonging “market uncertainty” with its decision to hold off on imposing controversial tariffs on metal imports from key global trading partners.

© AFP/File / by Cédric SIMON, with Delphine TOUITOU in Washington | The European Commission and Germany both called for EU nations to be excluded from US metal tariffs


The 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent duties on aluminium — a key tenet of US President Donald Trump’s “America first” approach to worldwide trade — were due to go into effect on Tuesday.

But after renewed fears of a trade war spooked Wall Street, Trump said he was holding off the levies, offering a 30-day reprieve to Canada, Mexico and the EU.

The European Commission and economic powerhouse Germany both called for EU nations to be permanently excluded from the punishing tariffs.

“The US decision prolongs market uncertainty, which is already affecting business decisions,” the commission, the EU’s executive arm, said in a statement.

A government spokeswoman in Berlin said Germany had “taken note” of Trump’s decision to delay the duties, but said it was “still waiting for a permanent exemption” to the tariffs.

Europe had lined up its own punitive tariffs on American imports, including iconic items like Harley-Davidson motorbikes, blue jeans and bourbon whiskey — but for now, instead, negotiations will continue.

Britain, the EU’s second-largest economy, welcomed Trump’s “positive” decision but warned against further protectionist measures from the White House.

“We remain concerned about the impact of these tariffs on global trade and will continue to work with the EU on a multilateral solution to the global problem of overcapacity, as well as to manage the impact on domestic markets,” a government statement said.

Trump on Monday said the “necessary and appropriate means to address the threat to the national security” posed by the metal imports is to “continue these discussions and to extend the temporary exemption of these countries.”

The US also announced it had finalised a trade deal with South Korea, which includes several concessions made by Seoul, including extended tariffs on pick-up trucks and a quota on its steel exports.

Washington has “agreements in principle” with Argentina, Australia and Brazil, “the details of which will be finalised shortly,” a White House statement said.

“In all of these negotiations, the administration is focused on quotas that will restrain imports, prevent transshipment, and protect the national security.”

The Trump administration has told trading partners they must make concessions, but the EU has insisted it will not negotiate without first obtaining a permanent exemption.

Extensions for Canada and Mexico had been expected, as Mexico City, Ottawa and Washington work on revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Canada exported over $12 billion of steel and aluminium to the United States in 2017, with another $3 billion from Mexico.

But an extension for the EU was less of a foregone conclusion.

– ‘Won’t negotiate under threat’ –

The EU’s three largest economies — Britain, France and Germany — held crisis talks on Sunday and the French presidency said afterwards they had agreed “the EU must be ready to act” if Washington presses ahead with the tariffs.

In a strident statement reacting to the 30-day extension, the EU’s executive arm said it was willing to continue dialogue but pointedly warned: “We will not negotiate under threat.”

“Any future transatlantic work programme has to be balanced and mutually beneficial,” it said.

Last year the EU exported over $7.7 billion of steel and aluminium to the US market.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index added 0.1 percent to stand at 7,512.94 points at Tuesday’s opening, amid May Day holiday closures in Frankfurt and Paris.


by Cédric SIMON, with Delphine TOUITOU in Washington

U.S. Extends Steel Tariffs Relief for EU and Other Allies — Prolonging Uneasy Situation in Trade

May 1, 2018
  • Argentina, Australia, Brazil have reached deals in principle
  • Negotiations to continue with EU, Canada, Mexico for 30 days

President Donald Trump will delay imposing steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, Mexico and Canada until June 1 as he finalizes deals with them, the White House said in a statement.

The administration has reached agreements-in-principle with Argentina, Australia and Brazil, according to the statement, which the White House released late Monday night. The details “will be finalized shortly,” the statement added. The U.S. will also extend exemptions for the EU, Canada and Mexico for 30 days to allow for further talks.

”In all of these negotiations, the administration is focused on quotas that will restrain imports, prevent transshipment, and protect the national security,” the White House said. “These agreements underscore the Trump administration’s successful strategy to reach fair outcomes with allies to protect our national security and address global challenges to the steel and aluminum industries.”

Trump in March imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent duty on aluminum after a government report found that foreign shipments of the metals imperil national-security interests. He directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to negotiate with countries seeking to turn their temporary tariff exemptions into permanent ones. Exemptions for the EU and the five other nations were due to expire May 1.

 Image result for Robert Lighthizer , photos
Robert Lighthizer

The president’s decision to delay the tariffs gives breathing room — but also a new deadline — for allies who have been scrambling to secure permanent refuge from the metals duties. It could be seen as a gesture of goodwill for Canadian and Mexican negotiators who are in talks with the U.S. to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump dangled a permanent exemption as incentive to reach a tentative Nafta deal, though talks continue with no immediate agreement in sight. Canada is the biggest steel exporter to the U.S.

European Retaliation

At the same time the extension on Monday prolongs the standoff with the EU, the world’s largest trading bloc. European officials have said the U.S. tariffs violate international trading rules, and they have threatened to retaliate with levies on iconic American brands such as Harley Davidson motorcycles and Kentucky bourbon.

The Trump administration has been pushing countries to accept quotas on the amount of steel and aluminum they export to the U.S. The White House in March spared South Korea from the duties after Seoul accepted a quota of 70 percent of the average of its steel exports to the U.S. between 2015 and 2017. The U.S. confirmed that South Korea was granted a permanent exemption on Monday in a presidential proclamation.

Trump’s embrace of trade barriers this year has sparked fears of tit-for-tat retaliation that could undermine consumer confidence and stymie the strongest global economic expansion in years.

The U.K. government on Tuesday called the exemption extension “positive,” but added: “We remain concerned about the impact of these tariffs on global trade and will continue to work with the EU on a multilateral solution to the global problem of overcapacity, as well as to manage the impact on domestic markets.”

China Trip

The decision comes days before Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other senior members of Trump’s cabinet travel to China in search of a deal that would head off a brewing trade dispute between the world’s two-biggest economies.

The president has threatened to slap tariffs on as much as $150 billion in Chinese imports in retaliation for alleged violations of intellectual property, while Beijing has vowed to retaliate.

Steel and aluminum exporters from China, along with other steel-exporting nations such as Japan and India, have been paying the U.S. tariffs since late March. The U.S. and EU have complained for years that Chinese steel producers unfairly benefit from state subsidies, and dump their products on the world market.

— With assistance by Mark Niquette, Josh Wingrove, Greg Quinn, and Joe Deaux


Includes video:


Trump Postpones Steel Tariff Decision for EU, Other U.S. Allies

May 1, 2018

Decision postponed until June 1; countries were granted temporary exemptions

A worker packs coils for delivery at the production site of German steel technology group Salzgitter AG in Salzgitter.
A worker packs coils for delivery at the production site of German steel technology group Salzgitter AG in Salzgitter. PHOTO: TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump eased trade pressure on top U.S. allies Monday, giving the European Union and some nations outside the bloc more time to negotiate deals that would exempt them from U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs.

The White House said broad tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum—already in effect against China, Russia, Japan and others—won’t take effect for the EU Tuesday as previously planned. Instead, Europe will have an additional month to keep talking with the U.S. about a new pact to avoid the tariffs.

As expected, Canada and Mexico were given an extension, also until June 1, while talks about rewriting the North American Free Trade Agreement proceed.

The White House said it has agreements in principle with Argentina, Brazil and Australia to avoid the tariffs. While the details haven’t been finalized, the countries have agreed to quotas, and their exports won’t face U.S. duties on Tuesday, a senior administration official said.

The Trump administration is backing broad restrictions on the trade of metals to limit the direct and indirect effects of Chinese steel and aluminum production on the U.S. market. “In all of these negotiations, the administration is focused on quotas that will restrain imports, prevent transshipment, and protect the national security,” the White House said in a statement.

Top Trump administration trade officials met with the president late Monday afternoon to decide on a course of action as a self-imposed midnight deadline approached, with some allies uncertain until the last minute about which direction the U.S. would choose.

Uncertainty was especially heightened for the EU. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both made personal visits to the White House last week but left without visible assurances or concessions on trans-Atlantic trade issues.

“The decision lies with the president,” Ms. Merkel said in a press conference with Mr. Trump.

Following through on threats to impose tariffs would have escalated tensions between the U.S. and its European allies at a moment when other high-stakes discussions were under way on the Iran nuclear deal, U.S. sanctions against Russia, how to confront economic challenges from China and other issues.

A spokesman for the EU had no immediate comment Monday evening.

A spokesman for the U.K. government, which is negotiating an exit from the EU, called the White House move “positive” and said, “We will continue to work closely with our EU partners and the U.S. government to achieve a permanent exemption, ensuring our important steel and aluminium industries are safeguarded.”

Mr. Trump announced the global tariffs in March, seeking to relieve the U.S. steel and aluminum industries, which had been buffeted in recent years by cheap import competition. A glut of production from China found its way through global markets into the U.S., despite U.S. barriers.

Trade hawks in the Trump administration saw implementation of tariffs against a wide range of trading partners as a way to wall off the U.S. domestic industry from these global forces. Labor groups, the domestic steel industry and their supporters want to limit the economies that get exemptions to the tariffs.

“I’m not worried by temporary extensions, but I don’t believe they should be unconditional or indefinitely left in place,” said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, which backs domestically focused industry in the U.S. “There’s some good evidence the pressure applied by the tariffs, or the threat of tariffs, is squeezing China.”

Lawmakers, business groups and foreign officials lobbied for an array of permanent exemptions from the tariffs, with some countries touting their strategic cooperation with Washington or bringing offers to crack down on allegedly dumped or subsidized steel from China.

The White House is using a decades-old law to impose the steel and aluminum tariffs on trading partners on national-security grounds. Trump administration officials have argued that a shrinking U.S. metals industry threatens defense capabilities and economic security. But many U.S. lawmakers were wary of punishing the EU, which includes most nations in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In a warning to Mr. Trump, the EU threatened to retaliate against more than $3 billion in U.S. exports, including items from the home states of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, both Republicans. The threat of retaliation will now be put on hold but could re-emerge if the two sides don’t hammer out a deal.

Europe’s steel industry was bracing for the worst, and some complained about the uncertainty of the last-minute U.S. decision-making.

“To prepare you need to know what’s going to happen,” Charles de Lusignan, a spokesman for the Eurofer trade group representing all European steelmakers, said before the U.S. decision.

Now that the EU has more time, officials from both sides will need to find common ground if they want to make the exemption permanent. Some European officials said the bloc wouldn’t negotiate under threats, and some trade advisers in Washington doubted whether additional weeks will be enough to yield a deal between the EU and the Trump administration.

One sticking point is whether European allies will accept quotas on their metals exports, something they resisted, and which they said violated rules of the World Trade Organization.

South Korea, by contrast, accepted limits on exports, often called “voluntary export restraints,” and won a long-term tariff exemption. Seoul agreed earlier with U.S. officials on a path to avoid the tariffs, and the White House said Monday a final agreement had been reached.

In Washington, many GOP lawmakers have criticized the broad reach of the metals tariffs, backed by U.S. companies that import steel and aluminum, which say the levies raise the price of everything from beer cans to auto parts.

The European steel industry has already felt the fallout of U.S. tariffs. Big exporters to the U.S.—countries like Brazil, Turkey, Russia, South Korea, Egypt and China—have ramped up exports to the European market to avoid American trade barriers, dragging down prices for domestic producers.

Steel imports in the EU rose 300,000 metric tons to 2.9 million tons in the first quarter of 2018, versus the same period a year ago, according to Eurofer. The European Commission, the bloc’s antitrust regulator, is considering whether to impose safeguards to prevent a surge of imports.

“We are already seeing now the trend toward massive trade redirections into the open, European market,” said Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff, president of the German Steel Federation.

Write to Michael C. Bender at and William Mauldin at

Appeared in the May 1, 2018, print edition as ‘Trump Delays Tariffs On Allies.’

Brazil: Da Silva’s party says his passport, clothes stolen — Parana state police have no comment

April 18, 2018

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, beard and closeup

Brazil’s ex-President Dilma Rousseff and Lula

Personal items belonging to former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva including his passport and clothes have been stolen in the city where he is jailed.

Da Silva’s Workers’ Party said Tuesday that the items were taken from a car parked outside a hotel where the party has set up an office in Curitiba. The southern Brazilian city is where the former president began serving his corruption conviction April 7.

Parana state police did not respond requests for comment.

Also on Tuesday, lawmakers on the Brazilian Senate human rights committee visited da Silva for two hours. Previously, he had been allowed to see only his lawyer and members of his family.

Associated Press

Bolsonaro, Marina Silva Tied in Brazil Amid Racism, Inciting Hatred Charges

April 16, 2018
  • Accusations against Bolsonaro based in part on 2017 speech
  • Datafolha poll shows lawmaker with 17% of vote intentions
Jair Bolsonaro

Photographer: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg

The first poll since Brazil’s former president was arrested showed environmentalist Marina Silva technically tied as a leading candidate in the next election with Jair Bolsonaro, who is facing accusations of racism and inciting hatred.

A Datafolha poll released by Folha de S.Paulo newspaper showed Bolsonaro with 17 percent of vote intentions and Silva with 15 to 16 percent. The polling scenario didn’t include former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose chances of returning to power have likely ended after he was jailed on a conviction for corruption and money laundering.

Lula was a front-runner for October’s presidential race before his arrest a week ago, and the three scenarios in the Datafolha poll with him as a candidate showed the 72-year-old still getting 30 to 31 percent of vote intentions. Bolsonaro was next with 15 to 16 percent, followed by Silva with 10 percent. Members of Lula’s Workers’ Party reaffirmed that he remains a candidate after the poll was released, Folha de S. Paulo reported Sunday.

Bolsonaro, a lawmaker and former Brazilian army captain, was on Friday charged by General Prosecutor Raquel Dodge for, among other incidents, remarks during a speech in Rio de Janeiro in April 2017. The charges, made to the Supreme Court, accused the 63-year-old of prejudice against Brazil’s indigenous population, women, refugees and LGBT people.

Congressman Jair Bolsonaro has made incendiary remarks about blacks, gays, women and indigenous communities. Credit Rodolfo Buhrer/Reuters

‘Sensationalist’ News

Bolsonaro’s adviser and lawyer, Gustavo Bebianno, said in a video shared in message groups that the candidate isn’t a racist, and that this will be “easily proved” in any legal proceeding.

Bolsonaro’s press office said in an emailed statement that the charges were “groundless” and aimed to produce “sensationalist” news — adding that, as a lawmaker, the candidate has the right and duty to discuss controversial topics.

The prosecutor’s office statement quoted Bolsonaro saying in the 2017 speech that he had four male children but that his fifth, a female, was the result of a “moment of weakness.” According to Dodge, his remarks violate constitutional rights of the victims and the rights of the whole society.

If convicted, Bolsonaro could face up to three years in prison and a fine of as much as $117,000.

See also:

Right-Wing Presidential Contender in Brazil Is Charged With Inciting Hatred


Without Lula, right wing and green candidates lead Brazil’s presidential race — Front-runner charged with racism

April 15, 2018

Image result for Jair Bolsonaro, photos, selfie

Brazilian Lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro loves the selfie.

SAO PAULO — One of the front-runners in Brazil’s presidential campaign was charged with racism on Friday by the country’s top prosecutor.

Attorney General Raquel Dodge charged conservative deputy Jair Bolsonaro for statements comparing members of rural settlements founded by the descendants of slaves to animals. Members of the settlements are called “quilombolas” in Brazil.

Dodge said Bolsonaro promotes hate speech by attacking blacks, women, foreigners, native Brazilians and homosexuals, dealing a major blow to a politician polling second ahead of October’s presidential elections. Jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva currently leads the preferences, but could be barred from running by Brazil’s electoral authorities.

“This unacceptable statement on quilombolas is aligned with the regime of slavery in which blacks were treated as merchandise and with the idea of inequality between human beings,” Dodge said. “After that, the accused said quilombolas don’t do anything and are unfit even to breed, deprecating them emphatically and absolutely for who they are.”

At the time of the remarks, the conservative lawmaker denied he was a racist, but acknowledged being a homophobe.

Brazilian politicians have a special jurisdiction in the country’s top court, which will later decide whether Bolsonaro will have to stand trial.

If convicted, Bolsonaro could be jailed for up to three years. Dodge also wants him to pay about $120,000 in collective damages.

A Datafolha poll published in the end of January showed Bolsonaro leading in Brazil’s presidential race if da Silva is not allowed to run.



SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Environmentalist Marina Silva and right wing politician Jair Bolsonaro would be leading candidates in Brazil’s presidential election if jailed former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is unable to run, according to an opinion poll on Sunday.

Image result for Marina Silva, brazil, photos

Marina Silva

The poll from Datafolha, the first since Lula started last week serving a 12-year sentence following a corruption conviction, showed the former president would lead the race in the unlikely event he was allowed to contest the election, due in October.

In the event he is unable to run, the poll, which ran several scenarios around candidate composition, showed Bolsonaro had 17 percent of voting intentions to Marina’s 15 percent. Datafolha said the poll’s 2 percentage point margin of error effectively means both candidates would be in a tied position as frontrunners.

Under the same scenario without Lula, leftist Ciro Gomes and former Supreme Court justice Joaquim Barbosa, a recent addition to Brazil’s Socialist Party PSB, would tie in third place with 9 percent each.

The poll also ran separate simulations that excluded Lula from the ballot and placing current President Michel Temer and former Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles as the candidate for the ruling coalition. Both Temer and Meirelles attracted only one or two percent in the respective scenarios.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the former president of Brazil, greeted supporters in front of the Metal Workers Union headquarters on Saturday in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil. CreditLalo de Almeida for The New York Times

Lula is unlikely to be a candidate as Brazilian legislation bars a person who has been found guilty after an appeal from running for any public position.

In the simulations with Lula still on the ballot, the former president had 30 percent of voting intentions. In simulations in which he is excluded, the poll found that his possible substitute, former Sao Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad, would win only two percent of votes.

Brazil will hold general elections in October to choose a President, governors for 26 states and the federal district and members for both houses of Congress.

Candidates are barred from using donations from corporations, following a massive corruption scandal that sent several politicians and businessman to jail.

Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Sam Holmes

Lula’s conviction leaves Brazil’s presidential race wide open.