Petrobras striking workers consider salary offer but insist the company must reverse investment cuts
Brazil's energy giant Petrobras offered striking workers a 9.54% wage hike on Wednesday in an effort to end a 10-day strike and prevent it from causing further production losses. But union officials said the deal makes almost no concessions on their most important demands. These include calls on Petrobras to reverse investment cuts and block planned assets sales designed to reduce Petrobras' debt.
Investors continued to dump shares in mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. following the deadly dam burst last week at its jointly owned iron-ore mine in Brazil, even as the company sought to clarify responsibility for the disaster that has already claimed the lives of three people.
Mud and wastewater from burst dams at a Brazilian iron ore mine cut off drinking water and raised health and environmental concerns in cities more than 300 km downstream on Monday, amid increasingly dire search efforts in a village devastated by the mudslides.
Brazil's economy will contract by 3.10% this year, with the inflation rate hitting 9.99%, the Central Bank said Monday, citing its weekly survey of private sector economic analysts. Last week, analysts said they expected Brazil's economy to contract by 3.05% this year and the inflation rate to be 9.91%.
Brazilian officials are investigating allegations that Petrobras overpaid hundreds of millions of dollars for the Pasadena, Texas, refinery and funneled money into a massive kickback scheme that's led to dozens of convictions and arrests and fueled calls for the impeachment of president Dilma Rousseff, who chaired the company until 2010.
Brazil's annual inflation rate accelerated in October to just below 10%, the highest reading in almost 12 years, after sharp fuel and food price hikes. Consumer prices, as measured by the benchmark IPCA index, rose 9.93% in 12 months through October, up from 9.49% in September, statistics agency IBGE said in a release. In the first ten months of the year inflation reached 8.52%
Brazilian authorities are still struggling to determine what caused the rupture in dams at an iron ore mine and desperately working to recover the bodies of as many as 28 people believed to have been swept away in the massive mudflow and flood.
Independent truckers have called for roadblocks across Brazil starting Monday in a repeat of the two-week strike that delayed grain and meat transport in late February and early March. However it remains unclear how much support the strike movement has.
Brazilian union leaders say stronger than expected support for a strike at Petrobras is due to growing worker opposition to a creeping privatization of the state oil company. The strike, which began on Sunday, has become the biggest stoppage in two decades at Petrobras and shows workers back union efforts to renationalize the company and cut foreign participation in the oil industry, union leaders say.
The Brazilian central bank will take the necessary measures to bring inflation back to the 4.5% target in 2017, bank director Altamir Lopes, said on Thursday. It is the first time the bank has given a timeframe for reaching the center of its official target range after it dropped its outlook to meet this goal late 2016 due to a weaker Brazilian currency.