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Second bite for Brazil's Rousseff

Friday, January 02, 2015 - 02:07

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff promises to reinvigorate a stagnant economy whilst protecting social commitments as she is sworn into her second four-year term. Can she succeed? David Pollard reports.

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All the luxury of a state limousine for Dilma Rousseff as she travels towards Brazil's Congress buildings. For the country's economy, it's been far from a smooth ride. Rousseff's first four years as president were spent battling a downturn and inflation. Some investors fleeing Brazilian assets in disapproval, amid hints of a ratings downgrade. For her next term, she's pledging change. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT, DILMA ROUSSEFF, SAYING: "We are going to make adjustments to the economy, but without damaging people's rights which we have achieved, or without betraying our social commitments." Among those commitments: a promise for a second phase of a programme for three million social housing units. But with it too came a vow to rein in government spending and curb rising prices. This man will spearhead that fight. Joaquim Levy has already been named as Rousseff's finance minister. Described as an 'orthodox' economist, he's thought likely to cut budgets and impose austerity measures to try bring finances into order. Although with so much of Brazil's revenue dependent on commodities, much of it may be outside his control. ETX Capital's head of trading, Joe Rundle. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOE RUNDLE. HEAD OF TRADING AT ETX CAPITAL, SAYING: ''I think Brazil probably is in for a rocky ride. It's heavily reliant on China as a commodity exporter and commodity prices definitely seem to be in a bear market at the moment. Any hint that China is slowing down and infrastructure spending is going to slow down will cause Brazil a significant issue, so I think you will see volatility in the market and iron ore prices will be the driving factor of that.'' Rousseff must deal with other, immediate challenges. Including a corruption probe involving Brazil's state-run oil company, Petrobas. The Supreme Court is expected to reveal the names of dozens of politicians who allegedly received funds from more than $3 billion in kickbacks. That should come next month, 'though. And for now, there's optimism among supporters that a second term in office may bring better things from Brazil's first woman president.

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Second bite for Brazil's Rousseff

Friday, January 02, 2015 - 02:07