Around 50 years ago Brasília became the capital of Brazil. The distances between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro - where the biggest part of the population live - from Brasília are big enough to have silently influenced the destine of the country in my opinion.
It's still difficult to protest in Brazil. Most people can't go to the capital with ease. For a lot of people even the capital of their own states lies hundreds of kilometers away.
Not only that: having the national political institutions isolated makes it difficult to know what's being decided there hence you can't even protest because you are not aware of the changes about to take place.
Another possible consequence of the moving was the weakening of political power of the aristocratic elite (in control since the beginning) which can explain the spread and increase of socialist ideals. Compared to the US I think the Brazilian elite doesn't have much political power anymore and we have more socialism and I think the reason for this is Brasília.
Social media has given the population the possibility of uniting to show their discontent while protesting locally. But this is the case only now. I wonder how big was the impact of having taken the national political institutions away from the population and how it could be measured.
Any insight on this issue would be welcomed! I find this subject very interesting and would like to analyse it in the future with real data. Maybe I'll start by relating economic development to the distance of the population to the capital for each country.
Employment is perhaps the most important indicator of the health of the economy. On the first Friday of each month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases two closely watched reports. These are tracked from month to month, and it's important to know whether the numbers are going up, down, or sideways.
- The unemployment rate tracks the number of workers who are currently out of jobs.
- The nonfarm payrolls report tracks the number of jobs that have been added or eliminated in the economy overall.
These monthly reports can cause some of the biggest one-day movements in both the bond market and the stock market..
4 Key Indicators That Move The Markets
Although this version is doubted by the circumstances which indicate that a navigator called Vincente Pinzón set foot in Brazil in January 1500, the land was officially discovered in April 1500 by the Portuguese navigator and nobleman Pedro Álvares Cabral. By the time he landed in Brazil, the only inhabitants of the nameless land were, according to inaccurate estimations, between 1 and 10 million indigenous people. Most of them were exterminated due to the direct or indirect interaction of the Portuguese, such as new illnesses brought from the Old World, the Portuguese killing the indigenous people, or indigenous people that sold other indigenous people to the Portuguese in exchange for spices and other products.
An In-depth Look at the Carnival History
The Carnival History of Brazil is quite intriguing and informative. The first pre Lent carnivals happened in Italy. Carnival came from the word Carne Vale which translates to ‘Goodbye to Meat”. Since then the term carnival was used to signal the start of a 40 day abstinence period known as Lent.
Ramon Moreira | Bookers International
The carnivals that were conducted in Italy were quite similar to the carnivals in South America, minus all the wild partying and Samba music. The carnivals of Italy were simple costumed festivals which were accompanied by merry making and music. The practice of the carnivals first spread to Spain, France, and other European countries and then it reached the Americas and spread into Portugal and Brazil.
The African influence
Although the practice of carnivals originated from Europe, African influence is evident in the Brazil carnivals that we see today. Carnival history dictates that this began when Brazil became a colony of Portugal. Due to the African slave trade, the carnivals adapted the tribal practices which included parading around the village which was actually done to ward off all the bad spirits in the area. People began to use costumes and tribal masks during the celebrations. Feathers were also used in many of the African costumes and this symbolized rebirth and the rise of the spirits which are also important components of the modern day Brazilian carnival.
The birth of Samba in Brazil
In Brazil, places like Praca Onze and Cidade Nova are considered as the heart of Samba dance and music. According to Carnival history, back in the 1600s slave trading was practiced in South America. The slaves that came to Brazil brought with them their culture and love for music. As time went by, slaves who originated from Angola and West Africa started to mingle with the locals of Brazil and shared with them their love for Samba. Since then Samba has become an integral part of the Brazilian Carnival.
The Samba Schools of Brazil
One of the most important moments in carnival history happened in the early 1920s when Samba started to become popular among the locals of Brazil. People who had a passion for samba, whether it be dance or the music itself, started to meet up with each other and started forming clubs and groups to share and enhance their love for Samba.
These small social gatherings then evolved into associations that we know off today. As time went by, the leaders of each Samba school decided to hold competitions to develop a healthy competition between each school and to promote each school’s love for Samba. According to carnival history it was in 1932 when the very first Samba School Parade happened. The Association of Schools of Samba City was also created and they now organize the parades at the Rio Carnival.
The Sambodromo is the heart of the Rio Carnival. It is where all 13 top Samba Schools will perform and show the audience which Samba School is the best. In the olden days, the parades where not held at a Sambadrome or any specific location.
Ramon Moreira | Bookers International
The parades were held in the old streets of Rio. But because of the improvement of the performances, the Governor of Rio commissioned the Sambadrome and was this venue was first used in the 1984 Brazil Carnival. The Sambodrome is composed of stands and a 700 meter avenue where you will find food courts and waiting areas. The Samba carnival that we know off today is the result of continued improvement. The Carnival in Brazil is one of the most popular Carnivals to attend and is also known for impeccable performances, groovy samba music, and colorful costumes.
An ever-growing internal market
Numbers show that Brazilians never get tired of their coffees. Brazil is not only the first exporter of coffee worldwide, but it's also one of the drink’s largest consumer. The internal consumption of coffee is non-stop growing, what can be proved by some numbers. The population’s intake of coffee increased from 8.2 million bags, in 1990, to 20 million bags, by the first months of 2012.
A survey made by IBGE revealed that coffee is the most consumed product on a daily basis by the Brazilian population above 10 years old. That represents 79.7 liters of coffee drank per inhabitant during a year. Quite amazing no?
The coffee consumed inside the country is the worst of its production, as the finest crops are destined to exportation. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why the coffee Brazilians drink on a daily basis is cheap and popular, costing around BRL 2.00 a cup or BRL 5.00 half a kilo of the powder bought in supermarkets. Most of the people here find absurd to spend much more than that only to enjoy a cup of coffee.
Also, people here are resistant in leaving their day-to-day black coffee behind. The most accepted variation is adding some milk to make the super popular “média”. Even the machine coffee finds some resistance from Brazilians. Also, a lot of people still turn up their noses to the Frapuccinos, Mochas, Caramels, Fruited, Macadamia, Frozens, Iced, Cinnamon, Nuts, whip creamed coffees, among other creative (and strange) coffee recipes with odd names that are so popular abroad.
However, even though the massive majority of Brazilians don’t care about the type of coffee they are drinking, as long as it’s strong and black, the niche market of expensive high-quality coffees is growing in some parts of the country, revealing a promissing area, in which several companies are already investing and succeeding.
The gourmet coffee market is concentrated in the largest cities of the country, mainly fed by multinational franchises coffee machine sellers that managed to well-advertize their products, to the point of creating a new culture of coffee in Brazil, but still with restricted range to a specific profile of consumer.
Why Building New Capital Cities Might Not Be Such a Bad Idea, After All
𠇎gypt needs a new capital like a hole in the head.” These were the words of the Cairo-based urban planner David Sims last year when the Wall Street Journal asked about the Egyptian government’s plan to relocate its capital to a desert locale 28 miles from Cairo. Sims’s reaction to such a move is not uncommon. Analysts often deride relocated capital cities, describing them as failed utopian experiments or misguided vanity projects of authoritarian rulers. It doesn’t help that some of these new cities are awkwardly built from scratch, such as Brasilia—known for its barren, unwalkable streets—or Naypyidaw, Myanmar, reportedly a glaringly lit ghost town.
These analysts make good points. But Vadim Rossman, a professor at the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg, Russia, suggests that a broader and more historical look at capital city relocation reveals sound reasons for the practice𠅊s well as positive outcomes. “I’m not an enthusiast of moving capitals,” he explains. “I’m just against sweeping generalizations about it. I’m interested in what makes an effective planned capital city.”
Rossman spoke with CityLab about his recent book, Capital Cities: Varieties and Patterns of Development and Relocation, in which he explores this interest𠅊s well as how governments can learn from past failures and successes.
You argue that our expectations of new capital cities are often too high. Can you explain?
It’s unrealistic to expect a new, planned city to become functional right away. It takes at least a century for such a city to become successful. Washington, D.C., for instance, wasn’t a flourishing metropolis for many years. Pierre L𠆞nfant’s master plan was completed only at the turn of the 20th centuryout 100 years after D.C. was founded. It was the same for St. Petersburg, the city I live in. It only became successful after about 100 years, in the early 19th century. The Russian historian Nikolay Karamzin called St. Petersburg a 𠇋rilliant mistake” in that it was a miserable city to live and work in for generations𠅋ut it persevered, and was critical to the formation of Russian identity.
Your book also chronicles sensible reasons for moving capital cities. What are some of the most important?
Much of the reasoning behind moving a capital has to do with balance. For instance, throughout history we see rulers using a new capital city to unite different areas. In ancient Egypt, King Menes merged upper and lower Egypt into one kingdom in 3150 BCE, and he placed the capital of Memphis in the middle. In the late 16th century, Poland and Lithuania united. The capital was later moved from Krakow to Warsaw, as Warsaw sat between Krakow and Grodno, the de facto capital on Lithuanian territory at the time.
Other types of balanceonomic, ethnic, religious𠅊re also an impetus. For example, when the Nigerian government moved the capital from Lagos to Abuja in 1990, it did so in part because the country is roughly divided into a Christian south and a Muslim north. Lagos is in the south, and Abuja is in the middle of the country, so the idea was that moving the capital closer to the north would help bridge the division.
And Lagos is typical of capital cities, especially in the developing world, in that it holds much of the country’s population as well as its resources. That creates an unequal relationship between the capital and the provinces. A goal of placing the seat of government elsewhere is to achieve more equal access to the public goods associated with capital cities.
Let’s look at a specific example. What makes Brasilia a success, despite the many critiques about its lack of livability?
Critics often describe Brasilia as alienating to live in and a failed utopian city, but this is only part of the story. The government wanted to economically integrate the interior of the country, which was very isolated from coastal cities such as Rio de Janeiro. In building Brasilia, a system of roads was developed so that much of the interior was integrated, and Brazil even became an exporter of agricultural products such as soybeans. Brasilia also gave the country a higher status in the region: it is a capital for all of South America. In response, Argentina has considered moving its capital from Buenos Aires to the interior, to Patagonia.
Is the study of capital cities at risk of being outdated in an era of globalization and transnationalism?
The idea of nation states as a dying phenomenon has been tossed around for years. If it is correct, capital city location becomes a dead topic. But more than 40 countries are currently debating whether to move their capital cities this tells you that the nation and nationalism are still very much alive. And it’s important to understand that countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America started their process of nation building recently. Those living in the West may see capital cities as a foregone conclusion—Vienna or Paris are unlikely to be supplanted, after all𠅋ut this is not the case in other places.
What advice do you have for governments that are considering moving their capitals?
New capital cities whose locations provide balance and inclusivity on as many levels as possible—territorial, economic, ethnic, religious𠅊re likely to be more successful and to contribute to the success of the state as a whole. A new capital city has to be realistic, as well. Egypt’s plan for a new capital is not a bad idea in itself. But because the government wants to make it flashy and glamorous, it likely won’t be beneficial for the people—many of whom live in poverty. It would be better to build a simpler administrative capital that would match the nation’s economic situation and provide more opportunities to Egyptians.
Brazilians in the U.S.
Historically a country whose citizens have seldom emigrated, Brazil had yet to experience a consistent and significant outflow until the 1980s. Almost all Brazilian immigrants in the United States have cited similar economic reasons for leaving their home in search of prosperity elsewhere. The term ?economic refugees? has come to describe such immigrants who have come to the US in search of higher wages, a lower cost of living, and a desire to escape the hyperinflations that plagued Brazil up until 1994. Yet even since 1994, when inflation ended and prices stabilized, middle and lower-class Brazilians have experienced an average loss of a third of purchasing power in their salaries. Many Brazilians come to the United States knowing that they can earn as much as four times what they earn in Brazil working the same jobs. This opportunity to accrue significant savings is perhaps the single greatest factor in influencing Brazilian immigration to the country. Furthermore, despite the fact that more Brazilians than ever are attending university, there has not been growth in the professional job market to match the growth in attainment of higher education. In addition to being ?economic refugees,? many Brazilian immigrants have come to the United States, in part, to experience the first-world modernity that has been popularized and glamorized in Brazilian pop-culture.
The greatest period of Brazilian immigration to the United States took place between 1985 and 1987, largely in response to a period of severe hyperinflation in Brazil. As early as 1980, however, the census found that 44,000 native-born Brazilians were living in the U.S. Immigration has continued throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s. Many Brazilians enter the country on tourist visas and remain once their visas expire, making them undocumented. The increasing difficulty of obtaining a tourist visa has resulted in the growing popularity of entering illegally via the Mexico border. After 2001, the U.S. government also imposed stricter immigration controls that make it harder to work without legal papers. Enchantment with the United States also faded after 2008 in response to a downturn in the world economy that has left Americans and Brazilian immigrants alike with fewer opportunities for employment and economic prosperity.
Most Brazilians arrive in the United States with a long-term plan of spending three to five years working and amassing significant savings that can be used to purchase property or a business, so they work hard with the plan to return to their country with capital to invest in Brazil. Social scientists studying patterns of migration, however, have noted that many Brazilians travel frequently back and forth between the two countries. This phenomenon is known as ?yo-yo migration.? It describes the fact that Brazilians find economic opportunities in the United States but experience difficulty in breaking their ties with Brazil. A 1999 study found that only one third of Brazilians living in New York City intended to stay in the United States, a fifth were undecided about their futures, and the rest planned to return home. As previously noted, recent immigration restrictions and the economic slowdown in the U.S. have reversed these trends and more Brazilians are returning to their homeland.
Brazilian Presence in the United States
The United States is home to the largest population of Brazilians in the world outside of Brazil. The majority of these Brazilians live in New York, Massachusetts, Florida, and California. However, smaller but significant communities have formed in places like Pompano Beach, Florida Danbury, Connecticut and Martha?s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimated in 2007 that 1.2 million Brazilians live in the United States, but the American Community Survey accounted for only 346,000. This massive discrepancy can largely be attributed to the undocumented status of an estimated 70% of Brazilians living in the U.S. who are underreported in these studies. Furthermore, Brazilian nationality is particularly hard to categorize, making it even more difficult to track Brazilians living in the United States. For instance, on the 2000 census, Brazilians that marked they were ?Hispanic? and wrote ?Brazilian? were not counted as Hispanic because they do not originate from a culture or nation where Spanish is the spoken language.
Brazilian immigration to the United States is primarily a middle and lower class phenomenon. Generally, poorer and impoverished Brazilians do not have the opportunity and financial ability to obtain a visa and purchase a plane ticket or pay for a person to smuggle them across the U.S. border. The majority of Brazilians in the United States are of lighter complexions, which reveals the ways in which skin color and economic opportunities are inextricably intertwined in Brazilian society. Poorer Brazilians tend to be of darker complexions or ?black,? while Brazilians with more financial resources who are upwardly mobile tend to have fairer skin.
Brazilian Experience in the United States
While one can note differences in personal experience depending on the state and city where Brazilians reside, there are many consistent patterns. Most Brazilians spend their first weeks in this country living with a Brazilian family or friends that host them temporarily and help them find stable employment and a place to live. Brazilians rarely live alone, which is consistent with cultural patterns in Brazil. In fact, the Portuguese term puleiros has been used to describe crowded rooms where many Brazilians live together. The conditions in these puleiros are usually poor, but the affordability and sense of community they offer may make them appealing to Brazilians who have just arrived in the United States.
In terms of community, there are a striking number of religious Brazilian organizations in comparison to the dearth of secular ones. Interestingly, many of these religious organizations are Evangelical churches rather than Catholic, despite the fact that an estimated 70% of Brazilians are Catholic. These Evangelical churches often form the center of a Brazilian community and offer support far beyond that of religious services, including assistance in finding employment and housing. The popularity of Evangelical churches among Brazilians is attributed to their sovereignty, which allows them to operate as both religious and social organizations, while Catholic churches must follow a more strict set of rules and look to national Catholic entities for funding and guidance.
Brazilians in the United States are often loathe to be mistaken for people from Spanish-speaking Latin America. Many Brazilian immigrants believe that the racism and prejudice they have experienced is often a case of mistaken identity, as many Americans consider or judge Brazilians to be Hispanic. Following deep cultural notions that make Brazilians consider themselves unique and different from people residing in other countries in Latin America, Brazilian immigrants often times have made special efforts to distinguish themselves as a unique nationality and a community that is distinct from Spanish-speaking and/or Hispanic communities. Another interesting change in cultural patterns of Brazilian immigration is the transformation of gender roles. Women, often as frequently as men, are employed and make significant financial contributions to the household. In Brazil, even among many middle and lower class families, women often do not work, and those that do contribute what is considered to be ?supplementary? income to the family. The ability to earn an income and contribute to a family?s economic survival can shift relationships within a family and afford many women more autonomy.
Many immigrants have been disillusioned by their inability to find employment that matches their credentials. Brazilians who hold university degrees or are trained professionals often struggle to find employment they consider ?worthy? of their educational background. Many are employed in working-class jobs that entail varying degrees of physical labor as construction workers, waiters, and kitchen staff, janitors and maids. These jobs rarely provide any upward mobility or benefits. Furthermore, despite the vast number of colleges and universities in the United States, many Brazilians from ?generation 1.5,? those who are native-born Brazilians but arrived at a young age, have been unable to receive in-state tuition, scholarships, or financial aid because of their undocumented status and/or status as international students. As a result, many have been unable to pursue higher education and others have become high-school dropouts. This barrier in access to higher education may prove to be limiting for many Brazilian immigrants in the long-term.
|Most populous |
Largest metropolitan area
Number of states
|North||17.7 million||Manaus||Manaus metropolitan area||7|
|Northeast||56.9 million||Salvador||Recife metropolitan area||9|
|Central-West||15.6 million||Brasília||Brasilia Urban Metropolitan Complex||3 + DF|
|Southeast||86.3 million||São Paulo||São Paulo metropolitan area||4|
|South||29.4 million||Curitiba||Porto Alegre metropolitan area||3|
- : 3,689,637.9 km² (45.27%) : 17,707,783 (4,6 people/km² 6.2% 2016) : R$ 308 billion / US$94,8 billion (2016 4.7%) (5th) : Equatorial
- States: Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins
- Largest Cities: Manaus (2,094,391) Belém (1,446,042) Porto Velho (511,219) Ananindeua (510,834) Macapá (465,495) Rio Branco (377,057) Boa Vista (326,419) Santarém (294,447) Palmas (279 856). : Iron, Energy production, electronic manufacturing, tourism. : Mainly rivers (which are abundant in the region). Highways are scarce and present mainly in the east. Airplanes are commonly used in small remote communities and sometimes in the larger cities. : Almost the entire region is covered by Amazon Rainforest, except the state of Tocantins, which has savanna-like vegetation (cerrado). Although most of the native vegetation still remains, the region suffers from critical problems due to the growing deforestation of the area.
- Notable characteristics: Presence of the Amazon Rainforest, which is the vegetation dominant in every state but Tocantins. Cities are spread far apart in the region, and it has the lowest population density of the country. There are very few paved highways in the region, as it is almost isolated from the rest of the country. It is also the biggest region of Brazil, being responsible for almost half of the Brazilian territorial extension. Economic growth is above national average (especially in Amazonas and in Tocantins).
- Area: 1, 561,177 km² (18.3%)
- Population: 53,340,945 (30.55 people/km² 29% 2009)
- GDP: R$437 billion / US$273,1 billion (2009
- Area: 1,612,007.2 km² (18.86%)
- Population: 13,357,154 (7.2 people/km² 6.4%)
- GDP: R$279 billion / US$174,3 billion (2008 8.3%) (4th)
- Climate: Savanna climate (hot, with little precipitation during winter in the northeast and the east Tropical in the east and in the west Equatorial in the north Some temperate climate places in the south).
- States: Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Distrito Federal (Federal District).
- Largest Cities: Brasília (national capital) (2,562,963) Goiânia (1,318,148) Campo Grande (796,252) Cuiabá (556,298) Aparecida de Goiânia (442,978) Anápolis (334,613).
- Economy: Livestock, Soybeans, tourism.
- Transport: Highways where they are present (mostly in the center and east regions) transport by rivers is common in the north and in the east airplanes are used in remote and smaller communities.
- Vegetation: Mainly savanna-like vegetation, including the Pantanal (Chaco, in Paraguay), flooded areas in the west, equatorial rainforests in the north.
- Notable characteristics: With a low population density, most of the land in the region is used for grazing instead of agriculture. The region is also the least industrialized in the country, based mainly in food & meat processing.
- Area: 927,286 km² (10.85%)
- Population: 80,303,750 (77.96 people/km², 38%) : R$1,629 trillion / US$803 billion (2008
- Area: 577,214 km² (6.75%)
- Population: 25,800,000 (43.46 people/km², 12.5%)
- GDP: R$503 billion / US$313,8 billion (2008
The composition of regions of Brazil according to autosomal genetic studies focused on the Brazilian population (which has been found to be a complex melting pot of European, African and Native Americans components):
A 2011 autosomal DNA study, with nearly 1000 samples from all over the country ("whites", "pardos" and "blacks"), found a major European contribution, followed by a high African contribution and an important Native American component.  The study showed that Brazilians from different regions are more homogeneous than previously thought by some based on the census alone. "Brazilian homogeneity is, therefore, a lot greater between Brazilian regions than within Brazilian regions." 
|Region ||European||African||Native American|
|Northeast of Brazil||60.10%||29.30%||8.90%|
According to an autosomal DNA study from 2010, a new portrayal of each ethnicity contribution to the DNA of Brazilians, obtained with samples from the five regions of the country, has indicated that, on average, European ancestors are responsible for nearly 80% of the genetic heritage of the population. The variation between the regions is small, with the possible exception of the South, where the European contribution reaches nearly 90%. The results, published by the scientific American Journal of Human Biology by a team of the Catholic University of Brasília, show that, in Brazil, physical indicators such as colour of skin, eyes and hair have little to do with the genetic ancestry of each person, which has been shown in previous studies (regardless of census classification).  Ancestry informative SNPs can be useful to estimate individual and population biogeographical ancestry. Brazilian population is characterized by a genetic background of three parental populations (European, African, and Brazilian Native Amerindians) with a wide degree and diverse patterns of admixture. In this work we analyzed the information content of 28 ancestry-informative SNPs into multiplexed panels using three parental population sources (African, Amerindian, and European) to infer the genetic admixture in an urban sample of the five Brazilian geopolitical regions. The SNPs assigned apart the parental populations from each other and thus can be applied for ancestry estimation in a three hybrid admixed population. Data was used to infer genetic ancestry in Brazilians with an admixture model. Pairwise estimates of F(st) among the five Brazilian geopolitical regions suggested little genetic differentiation only between the South and the remaining regions. Estimates of ancestry results are consistent with the heterogeneous genetic profile of Brazilian population, with a major contribution of European ancestry (0.771) followed by African (0.143) and Amerindian contributions (0.085). The described multiplexed SNP panels can be useful tool for bioanthropological studies but it can be mainly valuable to control for spurious results in genetic association studies in admixed populations." 
|Region ||European||African||Native American|
|Northeast of Brazil||77.40%||13.60%||8.90%|
|Southeast Region, Brazil||79.90%||14.10%||6.10%|
An autosomal DNA study from 2009 found a similar profile "all the Brazilian samples (regions) lie more closely to the European group than to the African populations or to the Mestizos from Mexico." 
|Region ||European||African||Native American|
|Northeast of Brazil||66.7%||23.3%||10.0%|
|Southeast Region, Brazil||60.7%||32.0%||7.3%|
According to another autosomal DNA study from 2008, by the University of Brasília (UnB), European ancestry dominates in the whole of Brazil (in all regions), accounting for 65.90% of heritage of the population, followed by the African contribution (24.80%) and the Native American (9.3%) the European ancestry being the dominant ancestry in all regions including the Northeast of Brazil. 
A study from 1965, "Methods of Analysis of a Hybrid Population" (Human Biology, vol 37, number 1), led by geneticists D. F. Roberts and R. W. Hiorns, found out the average Northeastern Brazilian to be predominantly European in ancestry (65%), with minor but important African and Native American contributions (25% and 9%). 
Religion and Beliefs
Religion is important in Brazil, as 80% of the country’s population is affiliated with a religion. The symbol of Brazil’s religious affiliation is the colossal statue of Christ the Redeemer that stands on the summit of Mount Corcovado in one of the country’s most famous cities, Rio de Janeiro. Roman Catholicism is the major religion in Brazil, with two-thirds of the population affiliated with the religion. Catholicism was introduced by Portuguese Jesuits in the 16th century during colonization, with the aim of converting indigenous cultures to Christianity. Religious beliefs and customs vary immensely throughout the country, particularly in rural areas where Saints of the Catholic Church are honored with a vow of pilgrimage.
Brazilian Real Plunges to Record Low Against Dollar
Brazil’s economy minister blamed the real’s slide to an all-time low on the coronavirus outbreak and said the currency could weaken to as much as 5 per dollar if he “messes up.”
Paulo Guedes said the real is weakening largely due to the economic impact of the epidemic, rather than a change in the country’s risk perception. The currency fell to a record intraday low of 4.6655 per dollar on Thursday even after the central bank stepped in three times to support it.
“If I really mess up, it can reach that level” of 5 per dollar, Guedes told journalists. “If I do a lot of things right, it will strengthen.”
Policy makers sold $3 billion in foreign-exchange swaps on Thursday in three separate auctions. The intervention, however, did little to ease pressure on the currency, which is being dragged down as traders increase bets authorities will reduce borrowing costs following the Federal Reserve’s emergency rate cut.
The real has repeatedly hit new lows since the beginning of February. The central bank has already sold $7.5 billion in foreign-exchange swaps, but that didn’t prevent the currency from becoming the world’s worst performer this year, down over 13%.
The central bank said in a statement on Tuesday that it’s monitoring the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on financial markets and the wider economy. Markets interpreted the statement as a signal for further rate cuts, sending swap rates and the currency lower.
Brazil’s local swap curve is fully pricing in a quarter-point rate cut at the central bank’s next meeting on March 18, compared with a near zero possibility the prior week. Traders had played down chances of further rate reductions after the central bank suggested in February the easing cycle was over, but resumed bets after the Fed’s move.
“The real is decoupled from peers due to lower interest rates and carry,” said Carlos Kawall, the Sao Paulo-based director of Institutional Relations at ASA Bank and former Treasury secretary. “The dollar is only going to one side and there is only one seller, the central bank.”
The real is down 13.3% this year, the worst start since 1999. It’s underperforming peers due to its diminished carry appeal, given that local rates have dropped to a record 4.25%. Weak growth numbers also weighed on the currency, as well as positioning, since it’s used as a hedge for long positions in stocks and rates.