CTPS

By Pedro Souza
May 1, 2016

So you have finally got a job in Brazil, applied for a work visa and picked it up. Now all you need to do If you want to work legally in Brazil is to get a CTPS (Carteira de Trabalho e Previdência Social). This document allows you to be legally registered, and grants you access to labor rights. It also keeps track of your ages, employers and types of jobs that you have worked on.

To get a CTPS, you first need to go to an appointment at an MTE (Ministério do Trabalho e Emprego), which is the Brazilian Work Ministry. To do that, you should first look for the nearest branch in the following website: http://saa.mte.gov.br/default.aspx.

Once you have set up an appointment, you should gather all the documents necessary. You will need to bring your passport, two recent colored 3 cm X 4 cm photos of you with white background, a copy or printed version of your CPF card, a proof of residence such as a water or electricity bill, a copy and your original CIE (Cédula de Identidade de Estrangeiros), two copies of the publication in the “Diário Oficial da União” showing that the MTE branch in Brasília has authorized you get a work visa and the SINCRE (Sistema Nacional de Cadastramento de registro de Estrangeiros) printout that was given to you when you registered at the Federal Police. You should also bring your work contract in case they ask for it, although it is not stated in the MTE website.

Once you have all the necessary documents gathered, you should present them to the MTE during the appointment you have scheduled. At the end of the process, you will be given a protocol that notifies when you can return and pick up your CTPS. When the time comes, all you need to do is return to the MTE and pick it up. Now that you have your CTPS in hands, you are finally allowed to legally work in Brazil. Congratulations and good luck!

By Joe Naab
February 28, 2012

Do You Have an Income Strategy?
The most important practical” part of life, no matter where you live, is supporting yourself financially. For most of those who brave the path to start a new life in Brazil, having an income and work strategy in mind before arriving is essential. The Brazilian job market is not like the U.S. job market nor is the mindset of an American immigrant to Brazil like the mindset of a Mexican, Puerto Rican or other latin american immigrant who moves to the U.S. Americans tend to have higher expectations for income and standard of living. There are many jobs in the labor market that they simply won’t do. Further, even the better paying jobs for illegal immigrants in the U.S. aren’t available here to foreign immigrants to Brazil in the same form and compensation.

The Most Common Income Strategies for Foreigners in Brazil
I will list here and briefly explain the most common income strategies I’ve seen foreigners employ here in Brazil. This will be followed by what I think is actually the most important strategy of all – which is to first design the most inexpensive lifestyle you can to reduce the amount you need to earn.

Independent Wealth
Obviously, having oodles of money already makes living in Brazil the most fantastic thing in the world. The issue that arises here is to manage your investments well, whether you bring your money into Brazil or not. The next important issue is getting permission to stay in Brazil. For those who don’t qualify for a marriage visa or other type of permanent visa, the most likely course is to create a small business to get Brazil’s Business Investor Permanent Visa. A wealthy person may not want to run a business. That’s okay. You can create a business that invests in land, for example, buy land in the name of this business and you’ve got your permanent visa. This is how I got mine.

Working Remotely Online
The next best strategy is to work online. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be a technologist, such as a web designer or a professional blogger, etc. These are great, of course, but it can be simpler than that. Many jobs now in the U.S. economy allow for “telecommuting”, taking advantage of email, skype and other web technology to allow them to work from home. Your home can be anywhere. Today, stock brokers can live anywhere in the world, for example. Part of my work is in coaching and small business consulting. My clients all live overseas. With this strategy, think less about finding work in Brazil and more about finding something in your home country or elsewhere that you can do from anywhere in the world. Keep your earnings there and draw it out from an ATM machine here.

Live Here Half the Year and Work at Home Half the Year
I have several friends who have designed their lives such that they live and work in their home country half the year and come to live in Brazil without work the other half of the year. Some of them may do some work remotely from here. This is a great strategy.

Creating a Legal Small Business in Brazil
You can create and run a small business in Brazil and you don’t need a permanent visa to do it. You need the visa to live here more than six months out of the year. So, you can have a manager run your business while you’re away, you can gamble and stay year-round and hope you don’t get caught. The best permanent solution for this, however, is to invest the R$150,000 minimum and get your business investor’s permanent visa in the process. This business can be anything you like- a caf, restaurant, language school, real estate company, web design, construction, etc. Choose wisely. If you’ve never started a business before in your own country expect it to many times more difficult and challenging here.

Getting a Salaried Job in Brazil
Any salaried job requires either a work visa directly from that employer, or that you have a permanent visa that allows you to work, such as a marriage visa. Outside of the major international corporations in São Paulo and other metropolitan centers, the best paying jobs in Brazil are public sector jobs, and you must have a Brazilian passport to qualify (i.e. more than a permanent visa). Further, in order to qualify for a work visa, your employer will have to demonstrate that you have a specialty that requires that they employ you and not a Brazilian. These types of jobs are often lined up in advance.

I wouldn’t encourage anyone to come here thinking that they could get married real fast, get a permanent visa for it, then suddenly find a decent paying salaried job. You’d have to be exceptionally skilled at something to earn a decent wage and in that case you’d likely be an entreprenuer.

Working Under the Table
Working under the table is the career of choice (i.e. necessity) for immigrants all over the world. In order to make this work you must read the next section below to understand how reducing your cost of living can make this work. This type of work doesn’t pay well, but if it didn’t pay enough to live off of, half of Brazil would be living in the streets. Can you teach something- English, music lessons, etc.? Can you build something, such as homes or part of a home? Can you work in a restaurant or bar? People don’t tip here and the pay is very low.

I want to share a caution with teaching English. Just because you speak it, doesn’t mean you teach it well. And if you don’t teach it well you will eventually lose your students and word-of-mouth referrals. The best way to gain clients is to market like crazy, with flyers all over town. This is a double-edged sword. Any great place for you to put a flyer is a great place for a Brazilian individual or language school that offers English lessons to put their flyer. In no time at all they will see your promotion, they will not want you there competing with them, they will assume you are working illegally and they will rat you out right away. You’ll have to leave the country. I’ve seen this happen several times here. You have to be stealth about it.

It is Essential to Lower Your Cost of Living Profile
I have only a small space to touch on this here. A section of my book is devoted to this. The less you spend, the less you need to make. Can you live in a tiny apartment? Can you have roommates? Can you buy whole food at a food market and make your meals at home? Can you go without television? Can you find fun things to do that don’t involved eating out at restaurants and partying at bars? For those who don’t yet know how much money they’ll make, it’s critical to design a low cost lifestyle, and Brazil is a good place to do this.

In Closing
I hope you got some value from this article and video. Brazil is a fantastic place to live and for those with the determination to do what’s necessary to start a new life here, all is possible. Good luck to you in all you do.

Joe Naab is the author of Brazil for Life!, a how-to living guide for those who want to start a new life or have a second home in Brazil. He offers a two-hour private phone consultation for those who want more specialized information to suit their specific needs. He also coaches people through the entire expatriation process and can help those interested to obtain Brazil’s Business Investor Permanent Visa. He can be found at http://brazilforlife.com and reached by email at info@brazilforlife.com.

December 5, 2008

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian – for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

How are Brazilian resumes/CVs commonly written and formatted? What advice would you give a foreigner or expatriate who is applying for a job in Brazil? Is it important to have both English and Portuguese versions of a resume? Thanks.

— Kathleen

Hi, Kathleen,

Do exactly as you commonly do. A Curriculum Vitae in Brazil should be like anywhere, make it the same format as in the type of business you are and you’ll be all right (no pictures for financial, if you know what I mean).

Yes you should have a Portuguese version, if you’re working with Brazilians.

My advise, thank God you asked, is that if you find it hard to make a Portuguese version of your resume you probably still need to learn some more Portuguese before applying for a job in Brazil.

Can I tell you some more advice? Once in Brazil be with Brazilians. You won’t go any further than a regular job if not.

There are thousands of opportunities, there is a lot of work to do to. If you’re willing to help good people need help and good skills will be welcome.

Boa sorte,

Vanessa

Readers comments:

The resumes in Brazil are very similar to the USA. However, personal information is allowed and people use it to show consistency with graduation and jobs dates, etc.

One thing is very important, being yourself in the resume makes you unique.

— Grace

Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to gringoes@www.gringoes.com with “Ask a Brazilian” in the subject. We will forward to our Brazilian experts, and publish the best questions (and replies) on the site.

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: Gender Stereotypes
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

By John Fitzpatrick
29 May 2008

The financial crisis which has hit American and European banks has cost tens of thousands of workers their jobs. One side effect of this has been a rise in interest by Western bankers in other markets, particularly in India, the Middle East and the Far East. The Times of London coined the expression summing up the dilemma facing those with no prospects in Western markets: ‘Mumbai, Dubai, Shanghai – or Goodbye. It quoted a headhunter as saying there had been an annual increase of 20% to 25% in the number of Western bankers heading East over the past two years. So far there has been no sign of many (if any) of these jobseekers heading to Brazil but there are a number of reasons why they should consider the idea.

Any Wall Street whiz kid would feel at home immediately in São Paulo. The city is obsessed with money, success, status and flaunting your wealth. Visit the old downtown area around the Bovespa and BM&F futures exchange, Avenida Paulista, Faria Lima, Funchal, Itaim and Berrini or head further out along the Marginal highway almost as far as Interlagos and youll see banks, brokerages, finance houses, insurance companies, accountancy firms, consultancies, actuaries and lawyers offices by the score. Countless sky-high buildings, gleaming as the sun reflects their glass exteriors, swarm with hundreds of thousands of busy bees, plugged into their computers, phones glued to ears as they gaze into their computer screens while holding conversations with a dozen people at the same time.

All of them obsessed with making money. All of them still have the same hunger for security and success that their ancestors felt when they arrived here from Europe, the Middle East and Japan, as well as every state in Brazil.

I believe the Paulistanos outdo New Yorkers any day when it comes to energy and stamina. While most workers in Wall Street cannot afford to live in Manhattan and head off in the late afternoon/early evening to the outer boroughs or to their suburban homes in New England, the São Paulo financial workers live in the city and are at their desks much longer. They are also much more flexible and enterprising in my experience. Some years ago I arranged a conference call with two top São Paulo analysts and some clients in the US the following Monday morning. I had forgotten that the time would change that weekend. The result was the analysts arrived two hours earlier than they needed to. They were not remotely fussed and agreed to come back later. Compare this with the attitude of a German banker I once interviewed for an in-house magazine. After the article appeared, he sent an angry e-mail to the marketing director of the company complaining that I had wasted 40 minutes of his “valuable” time since I had not given enough coverage to a deal he had been involved in.

People in the São Paulo financial area will work straight through the night to finish projects without making the slightest complaint. I know one equity analyst who went three nights without sleep recently when he was writing reports on the quarterly earnings of companies he covers.

If they work hard, they also play hard. São Paulo is open all hours whether you want to go to a concert, bar, supermarket, hairdresser or dentist. New York may claim to be the city that never sleeps but, to my mind, it is not in the same league as São Paulo in terms of the vibrancy of the lifestyle and excellence of the restaurants. When youve stopped drinking and dancing at 5 a.m. you can go to one of the thousands of cozy bakery cafs known as padarias and have breakfast – before heading back to another 12-hour working day.

São Paulo is not a city for losers. If you cant make it on your own then dont expect anybody else to help you. This has led to many immigrants giving up and returning home empty-handed but those who stayed showed iron stamina and endurance and built a city that overwhelms every foreigner who sees it for the first time. Their efforts also turned São Paulo state into the economic powerhouse of Brazil, responsible for around 40% of the entire GDP.

This wealth was founded on the rich agricultural land which made the state the world’s largest exporter of coffee and orange juice, and a major exporter of sugar. If you are reading this outside Brazil then the chances are that the orange juice, coffee and sugar you had with your breakfast today came from here. (There is also a fair chance that the chicken you will have for lunch and the steak for dinner tonight may also have originated in Brazil but that is another story.) This agricultural bounty is still continuing with ethanol production from sugar cane. Despite common belief abroad, most of Brazil’s ethanol is not produced in the Amazon but in upstate São Paulo.

Industry has also developed and São Paulo is now an exporter of cars, planes, steel, aluminum and all kinds of raw and manufactured goods as well as services. Although much of this development was led by foreign multinationals for decades, it was the Brazilian management and workforce which coped with the problems associated with the boom and bust years and the lost decade when Brazil was felled by hyperinflation, a huge foreign debt and feeble growth.

Nowadays, companies from São Paulo like the beverage giant Inbev (of which Ambev is one of the controllers) and the Votorantim Group have turned table and started buying up companies abroad. Inbev is currently trying to buy Anheuser-Busch, maker of Budweiser, while Votorantim has become one of the largest cement producers in the United States and Canada. Brazil is also helping the US and other countries cope with the ongoing financial crisis as foreign firms, particularly banks, remit the hefty profits they have made here to prop up their parent companies shaky balance sheets. Foreign companies remitted US$ 12.358 billion in profits and dividends between January and April this year. A quarter of this figure went to troubled banks abroad.

On top of this dynamism the metropolitan region of São Paulo forms a consumer market of almost 20 million people. In short, São Paulo is a financier’s dream with tens of thousands of corporate clients and millions of individuals all needing services ranging from investment banking to mortgages and car loans. São Paulo has always been a major financial center but the boom the Brazilian economy is enjoying has expanded its influence at world level. The Bovespa and the BM&F have recently merged to form the world’s third-largest publicly traded securities exchange. Petrobras is now the sixth-largest company in the world in terms of market capitalization. It may not be based in São Paulo but much of its potentially rich oil reserves lie off the São Paulo coast. Brazil’s expanding economy has led more companies to list on the stock exchange. Around 10 middle market banks and 15 homebuilders have opened their capital over the last two years. The pace has slowed somewhat and some listings have been postponed this year due to the international financial crisis but this crisis has had little effect on Brazil to date.

All this means that there are jobs aplenty for skilled financial professionals whether investment bankers, traders, analysts, consultants or tax specialists. The choice is your – out of work in Wall Street or making it in Avenida Paulista. Are you ready to go for it?

John Fitzpatrick 2008

John Fitzpatrick is a Scottish writer and consultant with long experience of Brazil. He is based in São Paulo and runs his own company Celtic Comunicaes. This article originally appeared on his site http://www.brazilpoliticalcomment.com.br. He can be contacted at jf@celt.com.br.

Previous articles by John Fitzpatrick on www.gringoes.com:

Brazil: Lula Loves Investment Grade – Whatever That Is
There’s No Business Like Oil Business – in Brazil Anyway
Benefits of Brazil’s Growth Start to Spread
Let Brazilians Sort Out the Problems of the Amazon
Brazil’s Politicians Set to Cash in on Oil and Gas Discoveries
Brazil: Lula Learns the Lesson of Not Planning Ahead
Cops and Robbers Brazilian Style
Brazil: Oscar Freire – São Paulo’s Street of Dreams
Brazil: Lula Called to Account on Tax
Will Lula Leave Brazil in Safe or Unsafe Hands?
Senate Spits in the Face of the Brazilian People
The Lord Mayor Goes Zapping the NYSE in Brazil
Brazil: Economic Boom – Political Gloom
Around Brazil: Natal – Sun, Sand Dunes and Solitude or Hassle, Hustlers and Hookers
ACM – Brazil Will Never See His Like Again
Brazilians Let Politicians Treat Them as Doormats
Senate Chairman Upholds Tradition of Treating Brazil with Contempt
Brits Turn Their Backs on Brazil
Look Out for the New BBC – the Brazilian Broadcasting Corporation
Navel Gazing in Brasilia – Largesse in São Paulo
Brazil’s Politicians Share the Spoils
Cida – A Brazilian Entrepreneur
Ten Top Brazilian Songs to Download on Your iPod
Lula Lets Brazilians Down by Failing to Exercise His Authority
Brazil: Laid Back Lula Finally Gets His Team (Almost) Together
The George W. Bush PR Show Comes to Brazil
Briefing Bush on Brazil the CIA Way
US Authorities Tackle Brazil’s White Collar Criminals
Brazil’s Opposition Parties Try to End Disarray
Lula Faces Arm-Wrestling Contest with New Congress
Brazil Waits for Lula to Return from Holiday
Around Brazil: Santana de Parnaiba
Brazilians Start to Stand Up for Their Rights
Darfur – Brazil’s African Side Show
Economics and Politics in Brazil – a Tangled Web
Brazil’s Strange Idea of Democracy
Brazil: John Pizzarelli – the Boy from Ipanema
Brazil’s Stock Market: the Path to Riches or Rags?
Brazil: Lula Unlikely to Change Course after His Massive Victory
Brazil: Privatization – Lula and Alckmin Defend the Indefensible
Brazil: Many Emigrants, Fewer Immigrants Part 2
Brazil: Many Emigrants, Fewer Immigrants Part 1
Brazil: Alckmin Hits Lula but Lands No Killer Blow
Brazil: Lula Pays the Penalty for Complacency
Brazil: Does Lula Deserve to Win?
Brazil: Cardoso Writes a Poison Pen Letter
Monte Verde – Brazil’s Green Mountain
Brazil’s Gross Disappointing Product
Brazil’s Election – Alckmin Hands Lula Victory on a Plate
Lula Hits Back at Congress
Brazil’s Presidential Election May Not be a Walkover for Lula
Pity the Brazilian Voter
Brazil’s Fainthearts Let the Nation Down
Now is the Winter of Brazil’s Discontent
World Cup brings Out the Best and Worst in Brazil
Brazil’s Big Spender
Brazil: The Dogs of War are Unleashed in São Paulo
Brazil: Self-Righteous Indignation Marks Bolivian Nationalization
Brazil: Lula Still Vulnerable
Brazil: The PSDB Takes the Hard Road
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 3
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 2
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 1
Brazil: Alckmin the Hare Takes on Serra the Tortoise
Patronizing Brazilians the Politically Correct Way
Brazil: Election Gives Voters Chance to Clean Up Congress
Brazil: João Pessoa – a Victim of its Own Success
No Consistency in Brazil’s Foreign Policy
Brazil: Sitting in the Shadow of Sarney and Magalhes
Brazil: Gentrification Creeps Up On São Paulo
Dirt Flies as Brazilian Parties Aim for Presidency
Brazilians Vote for Guns and Death Not Peace and Love
Brazil’s Gun Lobby Launches Hysterical Campaign Against Arms Ban
Jews and Arabs Find Success in Brazil
Brazil’s Politicians Start Looking Ahead to Next Year
Brazil: Lula Down but Certainly Not Out
Brazil’s Congress Struggles to Cope with Ongoing Crisis
Brazil: Scandal Threatens Presidential Mandate System
Brazil: If Lula is to Survive He Needs to Change His Tactics
Brazil: Many Parties – Few Ideas
Brazil Through Foreign Eyes
Helping the Helpless in Brazil
Pinheiros – São Paulo’s Best District
Growing Old (Dis)gracefully in Brazil
Canudos, Still With Us 100 Years Later
The Rise of the Brazilian Empire
Brazil and Portugal – The Samba and the Fado
Brazil – Just A State Of Mind
Brazil: For Lula, is Ignorance Bliss?
Brazil: Pay Day – or Pay Dirt?

By John Fitzpatrick
April 7, 2008

There has probably never been a better time for a worker to find a good job in Brazil than at the moment. The economy is growing, shrugging off most of the fallout from the crisis in the United States, consumers are buying as if every week was Christmas, real pay is rising and millions have been moving up the social ladder into higher classes. Unemployment is virtually at a record low and jobs are plentiful. Social inequality and misery are still around but millions have been taken out of poverty or given a helping hand thanks to the economic boom and government social security programs. How much credit should President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva take for this situation? Quite a lot but the truth is that Lula has had a lot of lucky breaks and he knows it.

The rise of China has created a market for all kinds of Brazilian goods. Chinese industry needs Brazilian iron ore and steel, farmers want fertilizers, while the food industry wants to feed China’s increasingly better-off consumers with Brazilian pork, beef and chicken. China’s apparently endless appetite for Brazilian goods is one of the reasons why the current financial crisis, which has pushed the US economy to the verge of a recession, has had only a limited effect on Brazil. The idea that when the US sneezed the rest of the world caught a cold is no longer valid.

The International Monetary Fund has just lowered its estimate for world growth in 2008 from 4.1% to 3.7% and puts the chances of the world economy falling into recession in 2009 at 25%. It estimates that the US economy will grow by 0.5%, the Euro Zone by 1.3% and Japan by 1.4%. Compare this with its estimate of 9.3% growth in China and you will see why the prospects for Brazil are buoyant. Compare the US’s feeble growth figures with Brazil’s increase of 5.4% in 2007 and expected increase of 4.8% in 2008. This may be a lot lower than China’s remarkable growth rate but it is still quite impressive against the current global economic backdrop.

We only have to look back a decade when Brazil was a front-line casualty when the Russian, Asian and Argentinean crises erupted. Over that period, Brazil had to be bailed out on three occasions by the IMF. Nowadays, not only has Brazil paid off all its debts to the IMF but has amassed a war chest of over US$180 billion to hold its own against speculative attacks on its currency. These foreign reserves more than doubled between December 2006 and December 2007 at a rate of growth that was twice as high as that of China and Russia.

This massive demand for Brazilian products has spurred companies to invest in new machinery and equipment and hire new workers. As these investments come to maturity, they will increase production and meet the soaring domestic demand. Most of the jobs on offer are in the formal sector which means that companies are thinking in the long term. You dont hire someone in Brazil, with all the complications and costs involved, if you are going to fire him the next day.

The easing of credit and falling interest rates has also helped boost the economy and given consumers the chance to buy products which were previously out of their reach. Millions of workers and pensioners are receiving credit through payroll loans where the money is deducted from their pay or social security checks. At the same time, payback periods are being extended to as long as six or seven years. The result has been a massive surge in spending as people rush to the supermarkets, car dealers and real estate brokers to buy computers, TVs, electronic gadgets, automobiles and their own homes.

The latest figures for vehicle production, for example, show an increase of 19.3% in the first quarter of 2008 over the same period of last year. The number of units sold in this period came to almost 648,000, 31.4% higher than the same period of last year. Of these car sales, 70% are bought on credit. The auto industry expects this trend to continue. The auto manufacturers trade association, Anfavea, says productive capacity will be increased from 3.5 million a year to 3.85 million in the second semester of 2008 and raised even further in 2009 to 4 million.

This rise in prosperity has raised literally millions of people from the lower class to the middle class. Studies by the official statistics agency, the IBGE, and the finance house Cetelem show that the middle class (the C class in the jargon and defined as having a monthly income of more than R$1,062 or around US$800) rose from 34% of the population in 2005 to 46% in 2007. The lowest income group (the so-called D/E class) fell from 51% to 39% in the same period. This new middle class now consists of around 86.2 million people. The greatest dream of these people is to own their own home and 16% say they will try and do so this year. No wonder banks are rushing to lend money to this group and homebuilders, which had previously concentrated on the upper-income groups, are racing to start new developments for those in the lower-income bracket.

There is, of course, a drawback to this rapid growth. The economy could overheat as rising demand outpaces supply. Factories are working flat out at record levels of use of installed capacity and the shortfall is being met by imports. This is reducing Brazil’s trade balance which has fallen sharply in this first quarter and is expected to show a deficit for the first time since 2003 – of around US$14.5 billion compared with surplus of US$ 27 billion in 2007. It is also leading to higher inflation which is threatening the official target of 4.5%. The result is that the Central Bank is likely to hike interest rates to cool things down.

This is a price which will have to be paid since, despite the good times Brazil is currently experiencing, the real world has an irritating habit of reminding you that good times do not last forever. The finance minister Guido Mantega wanted to put some limits on credit since he feared the long payback periods could cause problems but he was slapped down by Lula who knows that the current spending spree reflects well on him and his government. He has every reason to feel pleased since a recent opinion poll showed that 58% of those surveyed thought his government was doing a good job. His own personal approval rating jumped from 65% in December 2007 to 73% by the end of March 2008.

John Fitzpatrick 2008

John Fitzpatrick is a Scottish writer and consultant with long experience of Brazil. He is based in São Paulo and runs his own company Celtic Comunicaes. This article originally appeared on his site http://www.brazilpoliticalcomment.com.br. He can be contacted at jf@celt.com.br.

Previous articles by John Fitzpatrick on www.gringoes.com:

Let Brazilians Sort Out the Problems of the Amazon
Brazil’s Politicians Set to Cash in on Oil and Gas Discoveries
Brazil: Lula Learns the Lesson of Not Planning Ahead
Cops and Robbers Brazilian Style
Brazil: Oscar Freire – São Paulo’s Street of Dreams
Brazil: Lula Called to Account on Tax
Will Lula Leave Brazil in Safe or Unsafe Hands?
Senate Spits in the Face of the Brazilian People
The Lord Mayor Goes Zapping the NYSE in Brazil
Brazil: Economic Boom – Political Gloom
Around Brazil: Natal – Sun, Sand Dunes and Solitude or Hassle, Hustlers and Hookers
ACM – Brazil Will Never See His Like Again
Brazilians Let Politicians Treat Them as Doormats
Senate Chairman Upholds Tradition of Treating Brazil with Contempt
Brits Turn Their Backs on Brazil
Look Out for the New BBC – the Brazilian Broadcasting Corporation
Navel Gazing in Brasilia – Largesse in São Paulo
Brazil’s Politicians Share the Spoils
Cida – A Brazilian Entrepreneur
Ten Top Brazilian Songs to Download on Your iPod
Lula Lets Brazilians Down by Failing to Exercise His Authority
Brazil: Laid Back Lula Finally Gets His Team (Almost) Together
The George W. Bush PR Show Comes to Brazil
Briefing Bush on Brazil the CIA Way
US Authorities Tackle Brazil’s White Collar Criminals
Brazil’s Opposition Parties Try to End Disarray
Lula Faces Arm-Wrestling Contest with New Congress
Brazil Waits for Lula to Return from Holiday
Around Brazil: Santana de Parnaiba
Brazilians Start to Stand Up for Their Rights
Darfur – Brazil’s African Side Show
Economics and Politics in Brazil – a Tangled Web
Brazil’s Strange Idea of Democracy
Brazil: John Pizzarelli – the Boy from Ipanema
Brazil’s Stock Market: the Path to Riches or Rags?
Brazil: Lula Unlikely to Change Course after His Massive Victory
Brazil: Privatization – Lula and Alckmin Defend the Indefensible
Brazil: Many Emigrants, Fewer Immigrants Part 2
Brazil: Many Emigrants, Fewer Immigrants Part 1
Brazil: Alckmin Hits Lula but Lands No Killer Blow
Brazil: Lula Pays the Penalty for Complacency
Brazil: Does Lula Deserve to Win?
Brazil: Cardoso Writes a Poison Pen Letter
Monte Verde – Brazil’s Green Mountain
Brazil’s Gross Disappointing Product
Brazil’s Election – Alckmin Hands Lula Victory on a Plate
Lula Hits Back at Congress
Brazil’s Presidential Election May Not be a Walkover for Lula
Pity the Brazilian Voter
Brazil’s Fainthearts Let the Nation Down
Now is the Winter of Brazil’s Discontent
World Cup brings Out the Best and Worst in Brazil
Brazil’s Big Spender
Brazil: The Dogs of War are Unleashed in São Paulo
Brazil: Self-Righteous Indignation Marks Bolivian Nationalization
Brazil: Lula Still Vulnerable
Brazil: The PSDB Takes the Hard Road
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 3
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 2
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 1
Brazil: Alckmin the Hare Takes on Serra the Tortoise
Patronizing Brazilians the Politically Correct Way
Brazil: Election Gives Voters Chance to Clean Up Congress
Brazil: João Pessoa – a Victim of its Own Success
No Consistency in Brazil’s Foreign Policy
Brazil: Sitting in the Shadow of Sarney and Magalhes
Brazil: Gentrification Creeps Up On São Paulo
Dirt Flies as Brazilian Parties Aim for Presidency
Brazilians Vote for Guns and Death Not Peace and Love
Brazil’s Gun Lobby Launches Hysterical Campaign Against Arms Ban
Jews and Arabs Find Success in Brazil
Brazil’s Politicians Start Looking Ahead to Next Year
Brazil: Lula Down but Certainly Not Out
Brazil’s Congress Struggles to Cope with Ongoing Crisis
Brazil: Scandal Threatens Presidential Mandate System
Brazil: If Lula is to Survive He Needs to Change His Tactics
Brazil: Many Parties – Few Ideas
Brazil Through Foreign Eyes
Helping the Helpless in Brazil
Pinheiros – São Paulo’s Best District
Growing Old (Dis)gracefully in Brazil
Canudos, Still With Us 100 Years Later
The Rise of the Brazilian Empire
Brazil and Portugal – The Samba and the Fado
Brazil – Just A State Of Mind
Brazil: For Lula, is Ignorance Bliss?
Brazil: Pay Day – or Pay Dirt?