Following months of strikes by broad swathes of public sector workers, from university professors to customs officers, the majority of workers on Tuesday accepted the government’s offer of a 15.8 percent pay-rise over three years. Federal Police unions however rejected the offer and opted to continue the labor strike action.
President Hugo Chávez met with the leaders of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay in Brasília Tuesday to formalize Venezuela’s entrance to Mercosur – six years after the oil-rich Caribbean nation’s first attempt to join the trade bloc. The decision to let in Venezuela was taken, controversially, without Paraguay’s approval during that country’s suspension for Former President Fernando Lugo’s impeachment.
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.
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.