On a sticky December morning, Justine Arena explains to a student that appropriate small talk for an international conference call must not include “How is Mr. Obama?”
“No politics,” says the 36-year-old English teacher/entrepreneur in her client’s plush office in a wealthy neighborhood.
Her student is no sullen teen, but the Latin America director for a multinational automaker.
Still, it’s clear who’s in charge here.
“What about ‘how is your mother?’” asks the student.
“Nothing personal either,” Arena says somewhat sternly. “Stick to the weather.”
She is one of a growing group of former Brazilian immigrants who have come home, drawn by economic growth and a job market the US and Europe can no longer offer. The 2010 census showed that from 2005 to 2010, 174,000 Brazilians returned to their home country, nearly twice as many as between 1995 and 2000.
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).
Wary of dependence on the dollar, Brazil and China on Thursday agreed to a R$60 billion currency swap, shoring up their economies and increasing liquidity in the wake of continued instability in Europe and the United States.
President Dilma Rousseff arrived in Los Cabos, Mexico Sunday to attend the 7th G-20 Summit of the world’s leading economies, where the Eurozone crisis and its effect on global growth took center stage.