• Foreign exchange rate: R$1.97 = $1.00  
  • Brazilian tax revenues posted a lively rebound in January as corporate income taxes rose, the Brazilian Tax Authority said last week. January revenues reached R$116 billion, a nominal rise of 13.2% over January of 2012 and an inflation-adjusted increase of 6.6%. Officials said corporate income tax collections were up 20%, in inflation-adjusted terms, raising hopes for a broad economic recovery this year.  
  • Total lending volume remained stable in January against December at R$2.367 trillion, the Central Bank said last week. Lending volume was up 16.4% against January of 2012. Average interest rates on all loans rose to 18.5% in January from 18.0% in December, the Central Bank said. Economists said lenders are already anticipating possible Central Bank base rate hikes because of recrudescent inflation. Brazilian inflation is now running at a worrisome 6.2%. Average defaults were also steady in January at 5.6%.   
  • Brazil’s Getúlio Vargas Foundation Consumer Confidence Index (ICC) declined in February for the fifth month in a row. The index fell to 116.2 points from 117.9 in January. Economists said the ICC is falling because of renewed consumer worries about inflation and job security. 
  • Brazil posted its second trade deficit in a row in February, this time at $1.28 billion. The January deficit was $4.04 billion. Exports declined by 8% during the first two months of the year while imports rose 9%. Economists are still predicting a surplus for the calendar year, but much lower than the $19.4 billion posted in 2012.