Posts Tagged ‘PETROBRAS’

Brazil: Will the protest matter?

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Anti-Rousseff protests draw 1.5 million across Brazil

About 1.5 million protesters hit the streets across Brazil on Sunday in a major show of anger against leftist President Dilma Rousseff, who faces crises from a faltering economy to a massive corruption scandal at state oil giant Petrobras.

Many called for the impeachment of Rousseff, less than six months after she was narrowly returned to power in the most bitterly fought presidential race since the end of a military dictatorship in 1985.

The biggest demonstration took place in Sao Paulo, where a million people rallied — according to police estimates — many in the distinctive yellow and green of Brazil’s national football team. The city — South America’s biggest, and Brazil’s business and industrial hub — is a stronghold of opposition to Rousseff.

Peaceful demonstrations also took place in 83 cities and towns around the country, including major protests in the capital Brasilia and in Rio de Janeiro.

Watch Tens of Thousands Demand Brazil President Rousseff’s ImpeachmentThe Guardian, of course, refers to them as “Rightwing demonstrations,” since demanding transparency and an end to corruption is clearly not a leftie “thing,” and Dilma is definitely a leftie.

Indeed,

The latest protests coincide with the 30th anniversary of the year in which Brazil’s military dictatorship ended and democracy was restored. In recent days, Brazilians have debated whether the demonstrations would mark a milestone for democratic expression and free speech or, conversely, signal the country’s unwillingness to obey the verdict of the ballot box when times turn tough.

Will the protests make a difference? Only if the people of Brazil are deteermined to strengthen the institutions that guarantee transparency and the rule of law.

Until then, no.



The Presidents’ Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 16th, 2015

ARGENTINA
Prosecutor Pollicita charges President CFK in AMIA cover-up case

Alberto Nisman’s Death Just The Latest Example Of Large-Scale Corruption, Argentines Say

BOLIVIA
From Stratfor: U.S., Bolivia: The Pieces Are in Place for Improved Relations

BRAZIL
Whose oil in Brazil?
One of the many casualties of the Petrobras scandal is a misguided industrial policy

Carnival time in Brazil

CHILE
Son of Chilean president resigns
The son of Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet resigns as head of a government charity after being accused of influence peddling.

COLOMBIA
Colombian Oil Firm Recruits FBI to Weed Out Bribery
Four Years Pass before Friends-with-Benefits Contracts Surface

Uribe meets with US Congressmen to seek support for Colombia opposition

Colombia proposes world’s largest eco-corridor with Brazil, Venezuela

CUBA
Former Obama Official on Cuba Talks: “We didn’t want anything in return”

Dissident savagely attacked by Castro thugs

Aggressive new HIV strain detected in Cuba
Researchers said an aggressive HIV strain in Cuba progresses into AIDS so fast that treatment with antiretroviral drugs may come too late.

Turkey’s Erdogan wants to build a mosque in Cuba. It’s based on a historical fallacy.

ECUADOR
The President Of Ecuador Just Went Off On John Oliver In Hilarious Rant

IMMIGRATION
OBAMA’S AMNESTY: IT’S EVEN WORSE THAN YOU THOUGHT

JAMAICA
In historic move, Jamaica extradites fraud suspect

LATIN AMERICA
What’s Putin’s Game in the Western Hemisphere?
The Russians are coming—again
.

Worldwide Threat Assessment

MEXICO
Heisenberg: Bill Clinton apologizes to Mexico for the war on drugs which he blames for fueling violence in the country
Bill Clinton spoke at a summit on Youth and Productivity in Mexico
He said: ‘I wish you had no narco-trafficking, but it’s not really your fault’
He then blamed U.S. efforts which had forced trafficking over land
Clinton’s administration followed past president’s efforts on drugs war

HSBC has form: remember Mexico and laundered drug money
For the bank to get off with hollow statements of apology is to treat us all with contempt

NICARAGUA
Skeptical Panama takes heed of planned Nicaraguan canal

PANAMA
Ohio? Panama Canal expansion shipping jobs to Ohio

Appalachian Ohio could benefit most, in part because the Ohio River could receive goods from the canal after they’ve made their way to the United States via the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River or the East Coast and the Port of Virginia.

PERU
Argentina oil company leaves Peru town after protests

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico bankruptcy bill to get House hearing: source

URUGUAY
Uruguay: Árabes, persas y espías, último capítulo de la gestión Almagro

You think? Uruguay Undecided on Accepting More Syrian Refugees

VENEZUELA
‘Coup plot foiled’ in Venezuela
An ex-air force general is arrested and more than 10 others implicated in a plot to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, officials say.

Coup = toucan’s saliva

Clashes in Venezuela as economic shortages continue to bite
A year after violent clashes between opposition protestors and government forces left 43 dead, protestors returned to the streets of Venezuela

Reporters without Borders: Venezuela flunks in Press Freedom Index
The 2015 World Press Freedom Index, prepared by NGO Reporters without Borders, highlights increasing difficulties in Latin America for journalists to do their job in 2014. Venezuela fell 21 places from 2013

Escándalo en el HSBC revela cuenta en Suiza de Hugo Chávez con 12 mil millones de dólares

The week’s posts and podcast:
Smart diplomacy: “We didn’t want anything in return” from Cuba

Today on Drudgereport

Argentina: Gitmo alumnus “ready to fight”

Latin America: Worldwide Threat Assessment

Ecuador: John Oliver goofs on Correa

Argentina: Why we’ll probably never learn the truth about the #Nisman murder

Venezuela: Persecuting the retailers

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Argentina: A case of “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown?” UPDATE

Netflix in Cuba, yeah, right

Podcast:
On Venezuela, Argentina & US-Latin America

The easement Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, January 19th, 2015

LatinAmerThis Carnival is dedicated to the new meaning of the word easement, which, following last Friday’s U.S. Department Of Commerce and U.S Department Of The Treasury Announcement Of Regulatory Amendments To The Cuba Sanctions now includes “making a deal where one gets nothing in return.”

However, the big news of the day is Alberto Nisman’s death by a gunshot wound in his home while his bodyguards were absent. Go to this morning’s post for more.

ARGENTINA
THE LONESOME DEATH OF ALBERTO NISMAN

Oil and trouble
A prosecutor accuses the president of obstructing justice in the country’s biggest terror case

In 2013, Argentina announced that it would collaborate with Iran in a joint commission “to advance knowledge of the truth about the attack,” as Ms Fernández wrote on Twitter at the time. The country’s Jewish population, the world’s seventh largest, was puzzled and angry about the accord. Now the prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, alleges that the controversial deal was reached in back-channel negotiations that Ms Fernández initiated with Iran. He claims that she offered to cover up the involvement of any Iranian officials in exchange for increased trade. Argentina would export grain to Iran, while Iran would sell oil to Argentina to ease its severe energy deficit.

In the end, for reasons that are still unclear, the negotiations failed and the deal fell apart. But Mr Nisman has marshalled evidence of the talks in a 300-page document that he filed in a Buenos Aires court. “They decided, negotiated, and assured the impunity of the fugitive Iranians in the AMIA case with the aim of faking Iran’s innocence to serve geopolitical and commercial interests,” Mr Nisman declared. The allegations against Ms Fernández, her foreign minister, Héctor Timerman, and others are based on “irrefutable proof” from two years of investigations and myriad wiretaps, Mr Nisman claims.

Kirchner Accused of Covering Up 1994 Terrorist Bombing
Prosecutor: President Made Secret Deal with Iran for Cheap Oil

Fernandez Graft Cases Multiply in Argentine Electoral Year

Argentina’s Jews Reel From New Twist in Terror Probe
Prosecutor Accuses President Christina Kirchner of Conspiring to Cover Up a Probe Into a 1994 Terrorist Attack on a Jewish Center

Argentina’s Kirchner Named in Criminal Complaint
An Argentine prosecutor filed a complaint against President Cristina Kirchner, her foreign minister and others for allegedly conspiring to cover up a probe into Iran’s alleged involvement in the bombing of a Jewish community center.

A federal prosecutor in Argentina has filed a criminal complaint against President Cristina Kirchner , her foreign minister and others, accusing them of conspiring to cover up an investigation into Iran’s alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in this capital city.

The prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, said on Wednesday that Mrs. Kirchner had ordered Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and others to negotiate immunity for Iranian suspects in hopes this would reestablish trade ties and allow Argentina to import Iranian oil to ease a domestic energy crisis. The alleged plan didn’t come to fruition, however.

Prosecutor: Argentinian President Plotted to Cover Up Iranian Role in AMIA Bombing

ARUBA
Aruba Tops 1 Million Visitors for First Time

It also makes Aruba one of just five Caribbean destinations above the 1 million mark, along with the Bahamas, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

Cuba’s 1 million visitors sure made a difference so far, or haven’t they?

BOLIVIA
Bolivian Peasants Urged On by Drug Traffickers Hold Hostage, Beat 4 Police

BRAZIL
Petrobras’s Lesson for Latin America
We Ignore Cronyism at Our Peril

Codenamed Lava Jato, or “car wash,” the investigation into Petrobras operations by police and public prosecutors revealed a colossal corruption scheme involving former top executives, construction companies, and prominent politicians from the governing coalition dominated by the Workers’ Party (PT). Evidence uncovered so far suggests the privileged club of racketeers pocketed billions of dollars under the cover of public contracts.

CHILE
Chile’s Penta Case Pulls Dozens Into Corruption Scandal
Officials Took Cash for Influence, Allege Prosecutors

Chile’s Landmark Electoral Reform Passes Senate Hurdle
Binomial System on the Way Out, Gender Quota on the Way In

After a marathon 20-hour session on Wednesday, January 14, the Chilean Senate approved reform to an electoral system that dates back to the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The objective is to increase the number of deputies and senators, and change the voting mechanism from binomial to proportional.

COLOMBIA
Why is Colombia Smuggling Coca Base to Honduras?

Colombia’s Santos Orders Discussion of Bilateral Cease-Fire with FARC

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica’s Quakers dodged US draft, now face perils of changing world
After leaving Alabama in 1951, small group of American pacifists maintains community in Central American highlands

CUBA
U.S. eases Cuba embargo

Breaking News from the Rumor Desk: Fidel gravely ill due to “embolia” (embolism)

Via Babalu,
* Obama will allow Americans to use credit cards in Cuba
* Castro will continue to prohibit private businesses from accepting credit card payments

ECUADOR
Ecuador targets cartoonist as world rejects Paris attacks

EL SALVADOR
U.N.’s Ban Ki-Moon Worried by El Salvador Violence as Murders Soar

FALKLAND ISLANDS
Bronze bust of Margaret Thatcher unveiled in Port Stanley
A statue honouring former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who lead Britain to victory in the 1982 conflict to defend the islands the Falkland Islands, has been unveiled in Port Stanley.

HONDURAS
U.S. Seeks to Seize Properties Bought by Corrupt Honduran Officials

IMMIGRATION
CBO: ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS GRANTED EXECUTIVE AMNESTY WOULD BE ELIGIBLE FOR CERTAIN FEDERAL BENEFITS

México: las rutas de los migrantes que no pueden viajar en La Bestia

MEXICO
DECOMPOSING BODY OF MURDERED MEXICAN ACTRESS FOUND IN WATER TANK

Mexico’s Unemployment Drop Points to Labor Market Recovery
Unemployment In Mexico Last Month Was 3.8%

MEXICO PROVIDING BIRTH CERTIFICATES TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IN U.S.

Losing marijuana business, Mexican cartels push heroin and meth

PANAMA
Obama to Meet With Cuban Dictator Raul Castro in Panama

PERU
Peru’s Entire Economy Is Threatened By Anchovies

Peru Currency Drops to Lowest Since 2009 After Surprise Rate Cut

PUERTO RICO
Google to Launch ‘Modular’ Smartphone
Google plans to launch a ‘modular’ smartphone in Puerto Rico, part of an audacious and risky effort by the Internet giant to upend the way mobile devices are designed, built and sold.

Sony to Withdraw from Puerto Rico after 25 Years, Web Site Says

URUGUAY
Uruguay Offshore Bidding Plans Hinge on Oil Recovery

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan Bishops Get Religion

Venezuela’s Bishops Have A Message For Pope Francis on Communism

Wow! Venezuela bishops tell Pope Francis the downside of socialism and communism

Report: Coup Plot Possible Against Socialist Venezuelan President. Not quite yet.

Venezuelan oil basket down to USD 39.19 per barrel

The week’s posts and podcast:
Argentina: Cristina’s corrupt deals with the Ayatollahs

Starting the day with Smart Diplomacy

Cuba: Effective Friday UPDATED

Charlie Hebdo: 5 million

Venezuela: Qatar gives a band-aid

Who’s publishing the new Charlie Hebdo cartoon? UPDATED

Cuba: Finally, the list of the 53 UPDATED

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Film: Boyhood

Cuba’s outdated Cold War mentality

Podcast



Brazil: Dilma’s shaky inaugural

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

The WSj writes on Dilma Rousseff’s second inaugural. Brazil Leader Starts Term on Shaky Ground
President Dilma Rousseff Promised to Fight Corruption and Fix the Economy During Her Inauguration

After being in office for four years, the numbers are not good:

In an inauguration ceremony that was upbeat but drew sparse applause and little spontaneous celebration by her supporters, Ms. Rousseff extolled her legacy of poverty reduction while outlining a vision to get Latin America’s largest economy back on track.

“We will prove that it is possible to make adjustments to the economy without repealing rights that have been won or betray social commitments,” she said in a speech in Brazil’s Congress attended by cabinet members, foreign dignitaries, allied lawmakers and other officials.

Her pledge came as Brazil confronts flat growth, stubbornly high inflation, ballooning debt and a potentially explosive corruption scandal at state-controlled oil giant Petróleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras.

Petrobras is key:

But the darkest cloud on the horizon for Ms. Rousseff might be the fast-moving corruption scandal at Petrobras.

Brazilian prosecutors allege that executives at Petrobras conspired with construction companies to inflate the cost of contracts, skimming off as much as $1.5 billion, by the estimate of Brazil’s budget watchdog, to enrich themselves while funneling kickbacks to Ms. Rousseff’s Workers’ Party and its allies.

Ms. Rousseff hasn’t been implicated in the scandal, and leaders of her party have repeatedly denied allegations of involvement. Police have already filed charges against 36 suspects, including two former Petrobras officials.

There are two things to bear in mind:
1. The enormous amounts of money handled through Petrobras (and the temptation/opportunities for corruption)
2. Brazil’s antecedents when it comes to scandals and prosecutions

Related:
Blast from the past: The Economist explains What is Brazil’s “mensalão”?

The last 2014 Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 29th, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentineans Hoard Disappearing Tampons
Fixed Exchange Rate Constrains Import Dollars, Pharmacies Lack Essentials

Argentine president hospitalized for sprained ankle. Not sprained, fractured.

Not sure if this was before, or after she broke her ankle, but it’s the weird photo-op of the week: Argentina president adopts young Jewish boy as godson to prevent him from turning into werewolf
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchhner adopted Yair Tawil as her godson, due to an Argentine folktale that says the seventh born son in a family will turn into a werewolf, and eat unbaptized babies.

BOLIVIA
Venezuela and Bolivia Challenge OAS on Supporting U.S. and Cuba
The OAS permanent council convened to support the rapprochement between the two countries began five hours late due to disagreements over the draft declaration, distorting the image of unity that the majority of the member states wanted to promote

Spanish Tourists Spend the Most in Bolivia

BRAZIL
Providence, Rhode Island is suing the Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras over investor losses due to a corruption scandal.

Unlike other class actions, some of the company’s senior executives have also been named as defendants.

Dilma Rousseff’s Christmas may not be so merry
Humiliation at the World Cup, a flailing economy and an oil scandal made 2014 a tough year for Brazil.

CHILE
Red Alert Due to Forest Fires Still in Effect for Chile’s Valparaiso Region

COLOMBIA
Colombia to Grow Faster Than Peers Even as Oil Tumbles

CUBA
The Geopolitics of U.S.-Cuba Relations

US to pay freed Cuba prisoner $3.2m
American Alan Gross, freed last week after five years in a Cuban jail, is to receive $3.2m (£2m) from the US government.

Americans back normalizing relations with Cuba, but has anyone examined the costs?

Obama, Cuba, and Iran

Cuban dissident voices & Pope Francis’ deaf ears
The wives of imprisoned critics of the Castro regime deserved better

Exiles, U.S. betrayed

The Cuban Archipelago

U.S. ending Cuban sanctions more proof of weakness, say Iranian media

TOP 10 LIES IN OBAMA’S CUBA SPEECH

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Dominican Charged in Scheme to Sell Massachusetts’ Driver Licenses to Illegal Aliens

ECUADOR
Boston Investment Company Sues Ecuador Over Bond Default

EL SALVADOR
Salvadorian Who Went Missing in War Reunites with Family 32 Years Later

GUATEMALA
The One Latin America Winner From U.S. Economic Boom: Currencies

LATIN AMERICA
Latin America in 2014: elections, football and environmental conflict
US-Cuba relations dominated the news in December, but elsewhere voters seemed resigned to the status quo

MEXICO
Abducted Mexican priest found deadThe coffin with Father Gregorio Lopez’s body is loaded into a hearse
[Father Gregorio Lopez] A Mexican priest who was kidnapped earlier this week is found shot dead in the south-western state of Guerrero.

Merry Christmas but Lest We Forget, MEXICO STILL MOURNS

NICARAGUA
I’m not the only skeptic: Doubts deepen over Chinese-backed Nicaragua canal as work starts

So far the company, the HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co Ltd, or HKND Group, of telecoms entrepreneur Wang Jing, has identified only $200 million in funding.
. . .
Supporters point to Monday’s start as evidence that the plan is on schedule. But key feasibility studies on the canal have been pushed back to next April, and excavation work is not due to begin until the second half of next year.

PANAMA
Panama Buys More Time for “Temporary” Price Controls
Sunset Provision Extended, Expanded Product List in the Offing

PERU
Peru evacuates Amazon village after raid by indigenous tribe
At least 39 people taken to Puerto Maldonado as officials search for motive behind latest bow-and-arrow attack by members of Mashco-Piro tribe

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rican Economic Activity Index Drops 2.1%

VENEZUELA
Diosdado’s Crocodile Tears
New York Times Op-Ed Scapegoats United States for Venezuela’s Ruin

Why checks and balances? Check out Venezuela today.

The week’s posts and podcast:
Venezuela: Leopoldo’s letter

Argentina: Top Gear hot water

Merry Christmas!

Confirmed: US Sperm For Spies program

Nicaragua: Where’s the Canal money coming from?

Did Obama give in on Cuba so Uruguay would take 6 Gitmo alumni?

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
The Interview. Yes, The Interview

Last-minute shopping: The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

Podcast:
The Opening to Cuba: What do Cuban Americans Think?

The St. Patrick’s Day Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Happy St. Patrick’s day! If you would like to read a novel about an Irishman in Latin America, I recommend El sueño del celta / The Dream of the Celt: A Novel, by Mario Vargas Llosa. (Warning: It can be gruesome at times)

ARGENTINA
Paris Club invites Argentina to hold debt negotiation

Pope Francis a year on: A friend reveals a very special gift
As Pope Francis marks his first anniversary in the Vatican, an Argentine silversmith explains how he has enlisted millions to help him craft the perfect present for his friend

Soaring Prices Fuel Frustrations Among Weary Argentines
Since the peso was devalued, Argentines have grappled with one of the world’s highest inflation rates, tilling the ground for social unrest, including a strike by schoolteachers and police sit-ins.

BOLIVIA
Petrobras Makes Its Entry into Eastern Bolivia Official

BRAZIL
Brazil World Cup: Fifa scraps speeches to avoid protest

His name is Eduardo Campos: Brazilian Politician Heats Up Election
In Brazil’s poor northeast, an upstart presidential hopeful is shaking up this year’s election race by spotlighting a sensitive issue ahead of the Brazilian-hosted soccer World Cup contest: soaring murder rates.

In Crisis, Rio Tries to Pacify Its Slums
Four community police officers have died in line of duty since February.

CHILE
Chile Earthquake: Magnitude 6.7 Temblor Hits Off Northern Coast Of Chile, Prompting More Than 100,000 To Evacuate

Mysterious underground caves discovered in Chile
A group of researchers in Chile discover 20 underground caves which could help unlock mysteries about how continents are formed

COLOMBIA
Colombian Left Forms United Front for Presidential Contest

Colombia’s elections; a nation divided

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica describes as “outrageous” exclusion from Ethical Traveler list

CUBA
Cuban dictatorship seeks more prison time for 2 imprisoned labor activists

Cuba Participates in “Friends of Assad” Meeting in Iran

ECUADOR
Chevron and Ecuador
Out of Hollywood

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador: Officials Confirm Ex-Guerrilla’s Victory
El Salvador’s electoral tribunal on Thursday confirmed that a former guerrilla commander during the country’s civil war emerged from Sunday’s presidential election with the most votes.

HONDURAS
Judge, Attorney Gunned Down in Honduras

JAMAICA
Jamaica dancehall star Vybz Kartel guilty of murder

LATIN AMERICA
CHAIRMAN SALMON TO SECRETARY KERRY: “WE NEED A BETTER STRATEGY IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE”

MEXICO
Don’t Celebrate Mexico’s Reforms Just Yet
Deficit spending is heading higher and the rule of law remains weak.

Enrique Peña Nieto Says He Wants To “Hit Crime Hard” During Michoacan Speech

PANAMA
Deal over Panama Canal expansion
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) approves a deal to end a dispute over $1.6bn (£1bn) cost overruns that delayed the work to widen the waterway.

PERU
Peru Naked Tourists: Government Wants Visitors To Stop Stripping In Machu Picchu

PUERTO RICO
The Next Financial Catastrophe You Haven’t Heard About Yet: Puerto Rico

URUGUAY
Uruguay not seen setting drug liberalisation trend: U.N. official

VENEZUELA
A Growing Crisis in Post-Chavez Venezuela

The crisis in Venezuela
Another day, more bodies

In Venezuela, Conciliatory Talk but Combative Tactics

One Bottle, Then This: My Afternoon at UCV

Some people never learn: Jennifer McCoy of the Carter Center promotes herself

To Those That Think Maduro Is Not A Dictator: ¿Qué Pasa en Venezuela? by Foro Penal Venezolano

The week’s posts and podcast:
Venezuela: #SOSVenezuela and the war against the Chuckys

#SOSVenezuela: Maria Corina calls for protests today, Maduro warns protesters “We are coming for you”

Ted in tats

Sean Penn: Photoshop, or nitwit?

Colombia: FARC & ELN recruited 1,387 children in the past two years.

#SOSVenezuela in tweets

Puerto Rico: Hedge funds <3 the new bonds

Cuban endurance sports: Meet world-class windsurfer Henry Vergara Negrin

En español: Unidad de quemados

Venezuela: Protesting doctors, 1st foreign casualty

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Biden goes to Chile

#Chile: Bachelet’s inauguration LIVEFEED

Podcast:
Elections in El Salvador plus other US-Latin America issues.


Brazil and China eye plan to axe dollar

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

brazilexportstochina

The handwriting on the wall?

Brazil and China eye plan to axe dollar

Brazil and China will work towards using their own currencies in trade transactions rather than the US dollar, according to Brazil’s central bank and aides to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s president.

The move follows recent Chinese challenges to the status of the dollar as the world’s leading international currency.
EDITOR’S CHOICE
In depth: Americas – May-18
Beijing’s stimulus measures questioned – May-18
In depth: China – Mar-04

Mr Lula da Silva, who is visiting Beijing this week, and Hu Jintao, China’s president, first discussed the idea of replacing the dollar with the renminbi and the real as trade currencies when they met at the G20 summit in London last month.

An official at Brazil’s central bank stressed that talks were at an early stage. He also said that what was under discussion was not a currency swap of the kind China recently agreed with Argentina and which the US had agreed with several countries, including Brazil.

“Currency swaps are not necessarily trade related,” the official said. “The funds can be drawn down for any use. What we are talking about now is Brazil paying for Chinese goods with reals and China paying for Brazilian goods with renminbi.”

Henrique Meirelles and Zhou Xiaochuan, governors of the two countries’ central banks, were expected to meet soon to discuss the matter, the official said.

Brazil: Exports to ChinaMr Zhou recently proposed replacing the US dollar as the world’s leading currency with a new international reserve currency, possibly in the form of special drawing rights (SDRs), a unit of account used by the International Monetary Fund.

In an essay posted on the People’s Bank of China’s website, Mr Zhou said the goal would be to create a reserve currency “that is disconnected from individual nations”.

In September, Brazil and Argentina signed an agreement under which importers and exporters in the two countries may make and receive payments in pesos and reals, although they may also continue to use the US dollar if they prefer.

An aide to Mr Lula da Silva on his visit to Beijing said the political will to enact a similar deal with China was clearly present. “Something that would have been unthinkable 10 years ago is a real possibility today,” he said. “Strong currencies like the real and the renminbi are perfectly capable of being used as trade currencies, as is the case between Brazil and Argentina.”

In what was interpreted as a sign of Chinese concern about the future of the dollar, the governor of China’s central bank proposed in March that the US dollar be replaced as the world’s de-facto reserve currency.

In an essay posted on the People’s Bank of China’s website, Zhou Xiaochuan, the central bank’s governor, said the goal would be to create a reserve currency ”that is disconnected from individual nations” and modelled on the International Monetary Fund’s special drawing rights, or SDRs.

Economists have argued that while the SDR plan is unfeasible now, bilateral deals between Beijing and its trading partners could act as pieces in a jigsaw designed to promote wider international use of the ­renminbi.

Any move to make the renminbi more acceptable for international trade, or to help establish it as a regional reserve currency in Asia, could enhance China’s political clout around the world.

Lula is visiting China, and signed a $10 billion loan and agreements on oil exploration and crude trade

China PetroChemical Corp., the nation’s largest refiner, will explore for oil in two areas in Brazil, Zhang Guobao, the head of the National Energy Administration, said before a signing ceremony to be attended by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao. Petroleo Brasileiro SA and China Development Bank agreed to a $10 billion loan agreement.

Petrobras, as Brazil’s state-owned company is known, has been in talks with China about a loan since last year. The company has sought alternatives to international bank lending and bonds to finance its spending plan amid the global credit crunch. China is securing energy resources to power its economy, the world’s third-largest, by offering loans to oil-producing countries including Russia, Venezuela and Kazakhstan.

Petrobras will supply 150,000 barrels of crude oil a day to China this year and 200,000 barrels in 2010 under one of the agreements signed today, Chief Executive Officer Jose Sergio Gabrielli said in Beijing, without giving details.

Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras requires funding on oil exploration. The Brazilian oil producer plans to spend $111 billion through 2020 to produce 1.8 million barrels of oil a day at so-called pre-salt oil fields, Gabrielli said last month.

China, as you may recall, had already proposed

to replace the dollar, installed as the reserve currency after World War II, with a different standard run by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

I’ll be talking about this in today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern. Chat’s open at 10:45, and the podcasts are archived for your convenience.