Brazil: the real deal?

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As one of the BRICS economies, Brazil has long been touted as one of the world’s most dynamic emerging markets. It is the world’s seventh biggest economy, has a large domestic market thanks to a population of almost 200 million people, low unemployment and a growing middle class eager to spend on consumer goods. It is one of the world’s largest producers of agricultural commodities, a major energy exporter and has plans for significant investment in infrastructure. And the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place in Rio de Janeiro will drive some of that infrastructure development, as well as attracting visitors and the attention of the world’s media.

“Brazil has a terrific entrepreneurial culture,” says Don Baker, partner at White & Case in São Paulo. “We see Brazilian clients looking at opportunities in their home market – including regions that have traditionally been underserved, such as the north and northeast – as well as throughout Latin America, the US, Europe and Africa.”

At the same time, recent street protests, coupled with the well-publicized difficulties of industrialist Eike Batista’s EBX Group, have threatened to unnerve investors (though this should be balanced against Odebrecht Offshore Drilling Finance’s successful overseas bond issue which raised US$1.7bn).

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