APLA '10: Brazil new president needs to fight corruption - sources

07 November 2010 15:04  [Source: ICIS news]

RIO DE JANEIRO (ICIS)--Brazil’s newly elected president, Dilma Rousseff, is expected to be market-friendly, but her administration will need to do a better job at fighting corruption, market sources said on Sunday.

Rousseff, of the ruling Workers’ Party (PT), was elected Brazil’s first female president last week with 56% of the vote in a run-off election against opposition candidate Jose Serra, a former Sao Paulo governor.

She was hand picked by Brazil’s incumbent president, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, to succeed him after eight years in office.

“The market likes continuity and her team is made up of people that are friendly to industry,” a Brazilian consultant said on the sidelines of the 30th Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA) annual meeting in Rio de Janeiro.

Among those on Rousseff’s team that were friendly to the sector were congressman Antonio Palocci and Brazil’s development bank (BNDES) president Luciano Countinho, the consultant said.

Countinho is a “scholar” of petrochemicals, and he will probably have a cabinet position in Rousseff’s administration, he added.

Despite the optimism about the outlook for Brazil, some delegates at APLA said corruption continued to plague the country, and they would like to see the new president take a stronger stance against the problem.

“A lot of people did not vote for Rousseff to protest Lula’s complacency with government corruption,” one delegate said.

The president cannot have a “don’t see, don’t hear” attitude, the source said.

Another market participant pointed to corruption in Brazil as the equivalent of natural disasters in other countries.

“Brazil does not have tsunamis or hurricanes … it has only corruption,” the delegate said.

Brazil’s chemical industry is upbeat about growth prospects for the coming years, citing the strong economy and rising income levels, particularly among the country’s poor.

Brazil’s GDP is expected to grow by 7.54% in 2010, according to projections by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

There is talk that growth could even hit 8%, a delegate said.

The 2010 APLA conference opened on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro with nearly 800 delegates. It lasts through Tuesday.

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By: William Lemos
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