Wall Street Journal, Feb. 28, 2019Brazil Posted Lackluster Economic Growth in 2018 By Jeffrey T. Lewis SAG PAULO—Brazil’s economic growth disappointed in 2018 after a truckers strike almosthalfway through the year slammed manufacturing, and govemment— and consumer—spendingrestraint sapped demand. The 10—day strike at the end of May, during which truckers blockaded highways around thecountry, halted shipments to factories, shops and hospitals and hurt Brazil’s key agriculturalsector by slowing exports and deliveries of needed supplies. Brazil held presidential elections in October, and the outcome was unclear for months beforevoting, pushing many of the country’s businesses to hold back on investment. An economiccrisis in neighboring Argentina, a major market for Brazilian industrial exports, also hit demandfor those products. “All those things have negative effects on growth,” said Pedro Ramos, head of economicanalysis at Porto Alegre—based ﬁnancial cooperative Sicredi, adding that Brazil has passedthrough several tumultuous years that have included a deep recession, a president beingimpeached and removed from ofﬁce and a giant corruption scandal centered on the country’sbiggest company and its construction industry. “It’s hard for the economy to grow, to ﬁndcompanies to invest here, with so much volatility,” he said. Former President Michel Temer, who took ofﬁce in 2016 after President Dilma Rousseff wasousted, reined in spending as he struggled to control the budget deﬁcit and reduced domesticdemand as a result. Government spending was stagnant in 2018 compared with 2017, accordingto the IBGE. With the inauguration on Jan. 1 of President Jair Bolsonaro, after an election campaign in whichthe law—and—order candidate also promised to make changes to the country’s insolvent pensionsystem, economists and investors are cautiously optimistic about growth in 2019. Indeed, some businesses in Brazil say they already saw a change in sentiment starting in thefourth quarter of last year, after Mr. Bolsonaro’s lopsided election victory, and economists areforecasting economic growth of about 2.5% in 2019. Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2019Brazil’s Leader Is Tripped Up by His Own Resolve By Paulo Trevisani and Samantha Pearson BRASlLIA—Brazilians elected former army captain Jair Bolsonaro as their president on hisresolute oath to end a political culture of kickbacks and backroom wheeling and dealing.
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