Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro issued a decree this Thursday to provide BRL 1.9 billion ($356 million) in funds to purchase and eventually produce a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca PLC and Oxford University researchers.
Brazil’s Acting Health Minister General Eduardo Pazuello said the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is the most promising in the world to fight the virus and the technology will be acquired by Brazil, which is facing the worst outbreak outside the United States.
On August 1st, the Osvaldo Cruz Foundation (FioCruz), linked to the Ministry of Health of Brazil, and AstraZeneca signed a document that will provide the basis for the agreement between the laboratories for the transfer of technology and production of 100 million doses of the vaccine in the country, if its effectiveness and safety are proven.
In July, scientists at the University of Oxford published an article in The Lancet, showing that, according to preliminary results, the university’s vaccine for COVID-19 is safe and induced an immune response.
International trade in Latin America and the Caribbean will drop sharply by 23% in 2020, more than that recorded during the 2009 financial crisis – when it decreased by 21% – as a result of the economic effects derived from the coronavirus pandemic, shows the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in a new report entitled The effects of COVID-19 on international trade and in logistics.
According to the report, the value of regional exports would contract -23% this year and that of imports -25%, a number slightly worst than the -24% recorded during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
The decrease occurs in a global context in which world trade accumulates a 17% drop in volume between January and May 2020. Latin America and the Caribbean are the developing region most affected by this situation and will be marked mainly by the setbacks in sales of manufactures, mining, and fuels.
The Brazilian airline Azul recorded a 40.7% growth in passenger traffic in July over June. In comparison with the same month last year, there was a fall of 77.6%. In terms of capacity, the company registered a 33.3% growth compared to June, and a 75.7% decrease when compared to July last year.
The occupancy rate ended the month at 79.6%, an increase of 4.1 percentage points over June.
Passenger traffic on domestic flights grew 50.1% and capacity, 43%, in July compared to June. The occupancy rate went from 75.7% to 79.4%. On the international routes, passenger traffic fell 10.6% and the offer of flights decreased 18%. The occupancy rate grew 6.7 percentage points, to 81%.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Brazilians increased the use of digital bank channels by 59% during the months of May and June, according to a study by the Future Consumer Index, conducted by Ernst & Young Global Limited (EY). According to the report, only 5% will continue with their banking relationship in the physical environment.
The survey points out that at a time when personal contacts can lead to contamination by coronavirus, consumers started to use less cash: 46% said they had increased the use of digital payments, against only 7% who maintained the use of physical money.
The acceleration of digitalization comes mainly from the younger and higher-income public, as shown in the survey, carried out during the months of May and June this year with 1,112 consumers. The more digital lifestyle has been driven by the younger generations – the so-called “digital natives”: Millennials and Generation Z use less money than Baby Boomers and are more active in adopting new means of payment.
According to the report, digital natives find it easier and more willing to try new technologies. At the same time, we can assume that the higher the disposable income, the greater the possibility of purchasing smartphones, wearables and other devices already equipped with contactless payment methods. The start of the operation of the Brazilian Central Bank payment system, PIX, at the end of 2020, will offer an extra stimulus to the use of digital payments. Especially among the low-income population, the possibility of using payment links makes the digitalization of the financial system more palpable.
According to Brazilian state-owned bank Banco do Brasil, it already has 5.1 million “digital natives” awareness, that is, those who started their relationship with the bank through digital channels. The number was up 69.1% in 12 months and 13.2% in the quarter. Of these customers, 81.4% are up to 40 years old, reports Valor Econômico.
The pandemic has continued to accelerate the adoption of e-commerce in Latin America, according to Visa. From April to June, the company tracked an additional 13 million new users of digital sales platforms.
“This figure means that 2 out of 10 users are new or are using it for the first time,” said Luz Adriana Ramírez, CEO of Visa Mexico, during a press conference.
Of payments on e-commerce websites made by Latin Americans were done through debit cards, the preferred method, followed by credit cards with 63% and cash-based systems with 44%.
Visa took the opportunity to present a partnership with fintech Mozper to launch an application that promotes financial education among children and teenagers through an account that is supervised and monitored by their parents.
The application is available in Mexico for Android and iOS platforms, and has 13,000 people on the waiting list; the goal is that by 2022 it will add around 500,000 children in the country, according to Mozper’s founder, Gabriel Roizner.
With an estimated allocation of BRL10 billion, guaranteed by the National Treasury, the program is aimed at individual microentrepreneurs (MEIs), micro and small enterprises, who have been facing difficulties to access credit in the pandemic. The delay will be caused by regulatory adjustments.
Loans will have an interest rate of up to 6% per year and a term of 36 months for settlements, including a 6-month grace period. Grants will be limited to twice the monthly average of sales made by POS devices and may not exceed BRL 50,000.
The Brazilian airline Gol ended July with a demand for flights 114% higher than in June. On a year-over-year comparison, however, demand for the airline’s flights fell 80.2%. The total demand is measured by the transported passenger-kilometer ratio (RPK, or revenue passenger kilometer). The information is from Brazilian newspaper Valor Econômico.
The seat offer, measured by the offered seat-kilometer ratio (ASK, or available seat kilometer), also increased in July over June, reaching 117% growth during the past month, but dropping 78.5% if compared to July 2019. The aircraft occupancy rate was 78.1%.
During July, the company increased its route network to more than 200 daily flights, meeting the increased demand for domestic flights at the Brazilian airports of Galeão (Rio de Janeiro), Brasília, Congonhas (São Paulo), Santos Dumont (Rio de Janeiro), Navegantes (Santa Catarina) and Foz do Iguaçu (Paraná). Gol didn’t operate regular international flights in July.
The Brazilian government is considering extending the financial emergency aid until the end of the year. However, each installment would be at $37,54 (BRL 200), less than the current $112,62 (BRL 600), according to O Globo.
The emergency aid was created in April to help self-employed workers, individual microentrepreneurs (known for the acronym MEIs in the country), and the unemployed during the crisis generated by the new coronavirus pandemic. Initially, three payments of BRL 600 were made. In early July, the government extended the benefit for two more months.
However, to reduce the amount of the aid installment, it will be necessary to approve the change with Brazilian House of Representatives. The Presidency may extend it on its own only if the amount of BRL 600 per month is maintained.
Chile’s economic activity fell 12.4% in June from the same month a year ago, according to figures disclosed on Monday by the country’s central bank. The IMACEC index, an acronym for Monthly Indicator of Economic Activity, encompasses more 90% of the areas taken into account for the official gross domestic product (GDP) and is broadly seen as an anticipation of the full results.
Finance Minister Ignacio Briones said there was little cause for celebration, even as the number came two percentage points above average expectations polled by Reuters.
The result was a little better due to the copper, of which Chile is one of the biggest global exporters: the mining industry grew 2.2% in June, while the rest of the economy fell 14%.