O presidente Jair Bolsonaro derrotou o ministro da Economia na quarta-feira, dizendo aos jornalistas que ordenou a Paulo Guedes que suspendesse seu plano de uma nova política de transferência de dinheiro. Bolsonaro disse que não poderia concordar com um programa que previa a redução de outros benefícios – como bônus de salário para pessoas com empregos formais – dizendo que não toleraria “tirar dinheiro dos pobres para dar aos miseráveis”. O presidente deu a Guedes até sexta-feira para fazer uma nova proposta.
Por que isso importa. As divergências entre os falcões do déficit dentro do Ministério da Economia e a ala militar perdulário do governo são notórias. Essa repreensão pública mais uma vez despertou temores de que Guedes pudesse renunciar – fazendo com que o mercado de ações caísse e a moeda brasileira perdesse terreno em relação ao dólar americano.
Escolha difícil. Bolsonaro tem algumas escolhas difíceis pela frente. Ele deve equilibrar o teto de gastos federais, enquanto oferece ajuda aos milhões que foram privados de sua renda devido à pandemia. E independentemente de sua decisão, ele terá que incomodar alguém – sejam os mercados, ou eleitores … ou ambos.
O salário de emergência do coronavírus (consistindo em estipêndios de R $ 600, ou US $ 107) tem um preço proibitivo de R $ 50 bilhões por mês para o governo. Para substituí-lo, o Ministério da Economia havia elaborado uma versão reforçada do programa Bolsa Família – mas os pagamentos seriam de apenas R $ 220, apenas um pouco mais do que os R $ 190 de benefício mensal do Bolsa Família. Bolsonaro quer que as famílias recebam pelo menos R $ 300. Mas o governo ainda não parece estar na mesma página – aumentando a incerteza sobre seu compromisso com a austeridade e uma agenda mais social.
Solução? Uma opção que está sendo discutida em Brasília é a aprovação de uma emenda constitucional para reduzir as despesas obrigatórias que consomem a maior parte do orçamento federal. Mas a falta de força política do governo tornou qualquer tipo de empreendimento um obstáculo.
By the way … In 2012, the government began cutting payroll taxes. Since then, it has waived BRL 118 billion — the equivalent of half its spending on Bolsa Família in the same period.
Uncertainties surrounding data protection in Brazil
The Senate reverted a decision by the lower house and allowed the immediate enactment of the new General Data Protection Law in Brazil. The law will be enforced as soon as President Jair Bolsonaro ratifies it, but punishment for non-compliant companies will only begin after August 2021.
The government wanted to postpone the data protection regulations until May 2021. The House had shortened that extension — but the Senate scrapped it altogether.
Why it matters. Most businesses in Brazil have access to consumer data, such as people’s tax identification numbers — but the law is hazy when it comes to how they must deal with that information. Moreover, the Brazilian government itself has increasingly enhanced its data-collection infrastructure. Legislation on data protection is paramount to protect citizens and consumers from abuse.
Meanwhile … Two controversial cases related to data protection are currently pending before Brazilian courts.
The Superior Court of Justice, the country’s second-highest judicial body, ordered Google to provide information of all internet users in Rio de Janeiro who did searches on the late City Councilor Marielle Franco — assassinated two years ago. Investigators believe the information could lead to those who ordered the murder, but data privacy advocates warn about the dangerous precedent the decision could open.A court in southern Brazil ordered Twitter to disclose the data of the people behind the social media profile Sleeping Giants Brasil — which exposes companies that run ads on misinformation websites. The decision regards a lawsuit filed by Jornal da Cidade Online, a well-known spreader of false information. The judge sided with the plaintiffs, despite recognizing that the Sleeping Giants account committed no crime in its activity.
Market regulator tells firms to obey the rules in live broadcasts
For years, investment firms have invested in the production of content to draw interest to the investment world and increase their client database. With the pandemic, these companies have ramped up their output of video content, with daily live broadcasts featuring members of the government, top investors, and C-level executives of listed companies. But these events have not exactly been above board, according to the Brazilian Securities Commission (CVM).
New rules. The CVM passed regulations for companies who join these live events:
Broadcasts with company representatives are subject to regulations about official market communications. Therefore, companies must inform the dates and times of these events in advance, providing investors and observers with the link through which they can watch the interviews.When possible, these communications must include the topics that will be discussed — or a list of questions that will be answered. If that is not possible, the interview should preferably be hosted before or after market hours.If executives want to share a presentation, the slides must be uploaded to the company’s page on the CVM web portal — as is the procedure for meetings with analysts and market agents.
Why it matters. Regulators fear that these live broadcasts run the risk of offering privileged information to a small pool of investors.
Coronavirus deadlier on commerce than 2016 crisis
New data from the National Confederation of Commerce shows that 135,200 retailers closed shop for good during Q2 2020. The number of closures is higher than what was seen in the entire year of 2016, when 105,300 stores went out of business and Brazil faced its worst recession on record until that point.
Why it matters. Commerce is the sector that generates the second-largest number of jobs in Brazil, trailing only services. The 135,200 shops that closed represent 10 percent of commercial establishments with formal employees.
Bankruptcies. The hardest-hit segments were those considered as “non-essential,” such as apparel retailers. However, even “essential” establishments felt the blow, with 12,000 supermarkets and grocery stores and 10,000 construction material shops closing for good.
About 13 percent of homeware stores were run out of business by the pandemic.The ITC sector (Information and Communication Technology) was the most resilient, with “just” 1,200 businesses shutting down — or 3.6 percent of the total.
Per region. São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Rio de Janeiro — where 40 percent of the Brazilian population lives — answered for half of the closures nationwide. However, states from the Northeast faced the worst proportional drops. In the case of Rio Grande do Norte, over 14 percent of shops stopped operations.