Girish Gupta



United Kingdom




Al Jazeera
Christian Science Monitor
Daily Mail
Economist Intelligence Unit
Emerging Markets
Financial Times
Foreign Policy
France 24
La Prensa (Panama)
National (Abu Dhabi)
New Internationalist
New Statesman
New York Times
New Yorker
Radio France Internationale
Sky News
Sunday Times
Times of London
USA Today


Contact (PGP Key)

UK Looking to Double Exports to Brazil by 2015, but Is It Too Late?
Jun. 23, 2011

Published by Minyanville

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg led a 45-person delegation to São Paulo this week hoping to double exports to the Latin American giant by 2015. He admitted that the UK has failed to nurture ties with Brazil and hopes to boost bilateral trade which in 2010 sat at $8.3 billion. Exports that year from Brazil to the UK were at $3.35 billion.

UK exports to Brazil have risen 29% over the past year, Clegg said. “As Brazil is set to be the fifth largest economy in the world by 2016, UK companies … should seize on every opportunity to prosper in Brazil,” he said.

This is seen by many as a catch-up exercise. “Clegg and Co. will have to work hard to convince their hosts that Britain at long last takes Brazil seriously,” says Jonathan Wheatley writing in London’s Financial Times. Wheatley also points out that India and China (and later this year, Russia) -- all of the other BRIC nations -- received visits from British Prime Minister David Cameron.

“[Clegg’s] trip will look more like a plea for help than the overdue start of a long-term relationship,” the paper continues. “Britain lags way behind Germany, France and Italy in trade with Brazil. And European companies … are part of everyday life in Brazil in a way no British rival comes close to matching.”

Brazil has long been keen for a United Nations Security Council seat. This hope seemed to be ignored during a visit from US President Barack Obama earlier this year. The seat is not likely to materialize anytime soon but Brazil’s role as the leader of the continent’s economies is being recognized.

Clegg was forced to take diplomatic care as the UK had supported Brazil’s candidacy for the Security Council seat but then was forced to back down as Brazil voiced its support for Argentina’s claim of the Falkland Islands. The 1982 conflict between the UK and Argentina caused more than 1,000 deaths over 74 days. It is commonly put down to a distraction from then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s domestic political problems. Adding to Clegg’s woes will be Brazil’s decision earlier this year to prevent Britain’s HMS Clyde warship to stop at Rio de Janeiro, delighting Argentina.

Former British Consul General in Brazil Martin Raven was more positive about the trip. “Although some large companies … have had a presence in Brazil for many years, several sectors have been ignored,” he told the BBC. “Defense sales have been poor, the retail sector has been absent, and telecoms have left the field to the competition.”

Clegg was joined by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt who impressed some sectors of the British press by flying economy rather than business class with his fellow ministers and delegates in order to save taxpayer money.

Brazil’s ongoing battle with inflation and ever-increasing interest rates were hit by low unemployment figures in May. The month saw the lowest figure of unemployment -- 6.4% -- since the Brazilian Geographic and Statistics Institute began collecting figures in March 2002. This seeming paradox is down to companies being forced to pay higher salaries to attract and keep staff. This additional cost is passed onto consumer who themselves are earning more money, pushing them into the middle classes.

Average monthly salaries in May rose 1.1% to $988. Through mid-June, the annual inflation rate is at 6.55%, above the government’s 2011 target of 4.5%. There was some good news on inflation as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose at its slowest rate since August, thanks in part to a fall in gas prices. The figure rose 0.23% in the month through to mid-June, down from 0.70% the previous month.

Interest rates are still likely to rise though, Flavio Serrano, senior economist at Espirito Santo Investment Bank in São Paulo, told Bloomberg: “Inflation decelerated because of specific issues -- food and fuels. Other items show inflation pressures are still spread. The central bank must remain vigilant and needs to continue to raise rates.”

Brazil has become the biggest buyer of US debt, having purchased $13.4 billion in April, almost double China’s figure, according to US Treasury data. While Brazil’s figure rises to a record $207 billion, both China and Russia have begun to reduce their holdings in 2011.

With the race between Mexico’s Agustin Carstens and France’s Christine Lagarde for the IMF leadership hotting up, Brazil looks close to siding with the underdog Carstens, according to Brazil’s IMF representative Paulo Nogueira Batista. This would be a large boost to the Mexican who, along with many emerging economies, has pushed for a non-European head for the organization.


Brazil's World Cup Raises Fear of Rampant Child Prostitution
Dec. 12, 2013

Maracana stadium is focus of football and protests in Brazil
Jul. 1, 2013

Brazil protests run gamut from health care to World Cup
Jun. 23, 2013

Brazilians angry over taxes, corruption take to streets
Jun. 18, 2013

Brazil's Protests: Social Inequality and World Cup Spending Fuel Mass Unrest
Jun. 18, 2013

Brazil's growth has a monkey on its back
May. 29, 2012

Second Chevron oil spill in Brazil halts production
Mar. 16, 2012

Mixed Carnival for Brazil's Largest Companies
Feb. 23, 2012

Brazil and Mexico Look to Rewrite Auto Trade Pact
Feb. 6, 2012

Yet another minister resigns from Brazil government
Feb. 3, 2012

Brazil Prosecutors Move Forward in Chevron Oil Spill Case
Jan. 30, 2012

British Visit to Brazil Overshadowed by Falklands Dispute
Jan. 20, 2012

Brazil Pesticide Use Sends Orange Juice Prices to Record Highs as FDA Threatens Ban
Jan. 13, 2012

Brazil Overtakes UK, Looks Forward to 2012
Jan. 5, 2012

Chevron, Transocean Face $10 Billion Fine in Brazil Oil Suit
Dec. 16, 2011

© Girish Gupta