Late last month, the Mercosur alliance met, suspended Paraguay and ushered in Venezuela as a full member in almost as little time as it took the Paraguayan congress to impeach their former president, Fernando Lugo, the preceding week.
With rifts between staunch allies, and political rivals forging unexpected deals, this year’s municipal elections have already taken on national significance. There are over 5,566 municipalities in Brazil where voting will determine mayors, deputy mayors and city councilors – and the race has started.
Brazil cut its benchmark Selic interest rate to a record low of eight percent Thursday, in an attempt to boost an economy that has continued to falter in the face of various stimulus measures. The 0.5 percent cut was the eighth consecutive reduction from the central bank’s monetary policy board (Comitê de Política Monetária), known as Copom, since August 2011, when the rate stood at 12.5 percent.
Despite a raft of recent stimulus measures, data released last week showed Brazilian industry continuing to perform poorly over recent months, as it reacts to the crisis in Europe and lower global demand for commodity exports. Industrial production shrank in May for the third consecutive month according to data released by the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE).
Shares in Eike Batista’s oil and gas company, OGX Petroleo & Gas Participacoes (OGX), rebounded Monday after a rollercoaster week saw them drop by forty percent last Wednesday and Thursday, temporarily knocking some US$4 billion off the Brazilian billionaire’s personal fortune, according to calculations by Bloomberg.