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Paraíba, the largest wind power complex in Latin America

Iberdrola will build the largest renewable energy project in Latin America in the northeast of Brazil:
The complex of Paraíba, will be the largest land-based wind farm in Latin America once it enters into operation in 2022/2023. This large renewable facility will be located next to the town of Santa Luzia, in one of the windiest areas of the Americas, and will consist of a total of 18 wind farms, of which three are already in operation -Canoas, Lagoa I and Lagoa II- and 15 others are in different stages of development, Iberdroal announced in a press release.
Paraíba will reach a total installed power of 565.5 MW thanks to a total of 181 wind turbines with the following characteristics:
– 136 SG132 wind turbines, with 3.4 MW unit power, one of the most modern and efficient wind turbines on the market, with 65-meter long blades.
– 45 wind turbines of model G114, of 2.1 MW of unit power.
This project will favour the creation of local employment thanks to a forecast of hiring more than 1,200 workers during the construction works.

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Trump trade war delivers farm boom in Brazil

The Bella Vita luxury condominium tower rises 20 stories over the boomtown of Luís Eduardo Magalhães in northeastern Brazil. Its private movie theatre and helipad are symbols of how far this dusty farming community has come since it was founded just 18 years ago.
Nearby farm equipment sellers, car dealerships and construction supply stores are bustling too.
The reason: China, a growing trade war between the United States and China is re-ordering the global grains business. In response to Trump administration tariffs on Chinese goods, Beijing this year imposed levies on U.S. agricultural products. Among them was a 25 percent tariff on soybeans, the single most valuable U.S. farm export. U.S. growers sold $12 billion worth to China last year alone.
China, the world’s largest importer of soybeans, has scaled back purchases of U.S. grain to feed its massive hog herd.
It is turning instead to Brazil, which has ridden the wave of Chinese demand for two decades to become a global agricultural powerhouse. Brazilian soybean exports to the Asian country jumped 22 percent by value between January and September, compared to the same period a year ago.
Brazilian producers are not only selling more grain, their soy is fetching $2.83 more per bushel than beans from the United States, up from a premium of just $0.60 a year ago, thanks to stepped up Chinese purchases.
Brazil’s farmers produce much more grain than is needed at home. Foreign customers are responsible for the country’s agricultural boom. Nearly 80 percent of Brazil’s soy exports now head to China.
The city of Luís Eduardo Magalhães is a testament to the importance of this international trade. Located in the state of Bahia, with farms stretching in every direction, the formerly unincorporated rural area in less than two decades has swelled to 85,000 people.
Major employers here include fertilizer factories, seed producers and processors of soy and cotton. The area “relies 100 percent on agriculture,” said Carminha Maria Missio, a farmer and president of the local growers union.
The local real estate market is surging too. Another new luxury condo tower is slated to open next year. Single-family homes are sprouting throughout the city. Prices for prime farmland are up 37 percent since 2012, according to consultancy Informa Economics IEG FNP.
Brazil’s total soy area is expected to expand to a record 36.28 million hectares this season due to robust Chinese demand, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.

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More plans for big solar parks unveiled

Brazilian conglomerate Grupo Rio Alto is planning to deploy another 210 MW of solar plants in the state of Paraiba. It has announced in a press release it intends to expand the capacity of its Coremas solar complex from 93 MW to 300 MW.

The complex, located in the desert of Paraiba, Southern Brazil, currently consists of  three units: the Coremas I, II, and III, of around 30 MW each, which were selected in the first three renewable energy auctions held by the Brazilian government between 2014 and 2015,

The company stated that the planned new seven facilities are approved by local authorities and ready to build, and that these projects are intended to compete in Brazil’s future auctions for solar and renewables.

The project is being financed by local banks Banco do Nordeste and Banco BTG Pactual, while also being financially backed by the European Union, and Nordic Power Partners, a joint venture between the IFU (Danish Sovereign Fund) and EE (European Energy).

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Protected areas could help boost Brazil’s national economy, study finds

Brazil’s protected areas such as the Amazon and Caatinga are known globally for the incredible biodiversity treasures they hold. In 2016, there were approximately 17 million visitors in Brazilian protected areas and according to a new study published this week, greater investment in the environmental management of these areas could help yield even more economic gains for the country.

The book Quanto Vale o Verde: A Importância Econômica das Unidades de Conservação Brasileiras (broadly translated as “How much is green worth: the economic importance of Brazil’s protected areas”), published by Conservation International (CI-Brazil) in partnership with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ) and partially funded by WWF, shows how protected areas could help generate revenue and employment opportunities for people and Brazil’s national economy.

The study outlines the potential contribution of protecting green areas to the national economy. This includes forest products, public use of protected areas, carbon stocks, water production, soil protection, and tax revenues at the municipal level.

According to the leader of the WWF Forests Initiative, Marco Lentini, the study is a landmark step toward recognizing the importance of protected areas for the well-being of Brazilian and global society. “Not only from an environmental point of view—the role of these areas in retaining greenhouse gases, regulating the climate and conserving water resources is extraordinary—but also from an economic point of view, since products like wood, chestnut and tourism can become an important source of sustainable income for the populations of the Amazon.

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FGTS threshold to finance homes increased to 1.5M reais

Brazil’s National Monetary Council (CMN) raised the price threshold of homes eligible to be financed by a worker severance fund to 1.5 million reais, in a move that may benefit the country’s largest homebuilders.

The increase from the current cap of 950,000 reais comes in addition to other changes in regulations. Industry groups such as Abrainc, an association of homebuilders, expect the new regulation to bring an additional 80 billion reais to the pool of funds available to finance homes in the country.

The workers severance fund FGTS offers home loans as one of several ways it invests money and generally offers lower rates than regular loans.

Brazilian homebuilders are in the midst of recovering from a drop in demand during Brazil’s deepest recession in generations.

“The new threshold will allow companies to sell current inventory, easing new launches,” said Luiz Antonio França, head of Abrainc.

Celso Petrucci, chief economist for the real estate industry group Secovi, said the new regulations were expected to help raise activity in the sector.

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Brazil Residential Sale Prices Stable in June

According to the latest FipeZAP Residential Sales Index, which tracks Brazil residential real estate prices in the country’s twenty biggest cities, prices in Brazil’sresidential sales sector remained relatively stable in June showing a nominal decrease of -0.06 percent.

According to FipeZAP,  six of the twenty cities surveyed showed increases in June: Distrito Federal (0.37 percent), Goiâna (0.31 percent), São Paulo (0.21 percent), Santo André (0.18 percent), Recife (0.16 percent), and Contagem (0.01 percent).

However, none of the cities that closed June positively were able to outpace the IPCA/IBGE inflation rate.

Of the fourteen cities that showed declines in residential sale prices from May to June, the biggest drops were seen in Niteroi (-0.66 percent), Salvador (-0.55 percent), Campinas (-0.46 percent), and Rio de Janeiro (-0.42 percent).

As usual, Rio de Janeiro registered the highest average residential real estate sale prices in the country. In June, the Cidade Maravilhosa had an average listing price of R$9,556 per square

Of the twenty cities surveyed, the cities with the lowest average residential sale listings were Vila Velha at R$4,708, Goiânia at R$4,134, and Contagem at R$3,498 per square meter.

The FipeZap Index monitors real estate sale prices across twenty Brazilian cities and is a monthly gauge of real estate prices. It is prepared jointly by the university research center, Fipe (Economic Research Institute Foundation) and the Brazilian online real estate platform, Zap Properties.

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Dozens of blue macaws to be reintroduced to Brazil

About 50 of the last Spix’s macaws, the blue parrot made famous in the hit animation movie “Rio,” will be reintroduced to the wild in Brazil from captivity in Europe, officials said Saturday. Brazilian Environment Minister Edson Duarte is due in Brussels on Sunday to sign the agreement with Belgium and Germany for bringing the birds back in the first quarter of next year.

The Spix’s macaw originates from north-east Brazil but is considered extinct in the wild, with only scores remaining in captivity. The medium-sized parrot sports feathers in a variety of shades of blue. It was last seen in the wild in 1990, according to the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP), which partners the Brazilian government on the project to revive the species.

The current batch of survivors being repatriated from Europe will initially stay in a special centre due to open in Berlin, where they will be prepared for the transition.  They will then move to a 72-acre reintroduction centre in a conservation area of Brazil’s north-eastern state of Bahia, with the first being released into the wild in 2021.

Brazil’s environment ministry said that international breeding programs for the birds in captivity have seen the population grow from 79 in 2012 to 158 this year.  Destruction of habitat and capture for trafficking are the main reasons for the near disappearance of the parrots.

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Brazil homebuilder MRV to boost housing starts after hitting profit estimates

MRV Engenharia e Participações SA, Latin America’s largest homebuilder by units sold, is planning to launch a new round of projects in the coming months.

 MRV have reported a first quarter net income of 160 million reais, up 22 percent from the same period last year.

The company also reported healthy margins, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) coming in at 229 million reais, up some 44 percent from the same period a year ago.

MRV’s improving figures represent a large rebound in Brazilian real estate, Co-Chief Executive Officer Eduardo Fischer said real estate demand was strengthening and operational numbers at the homebuilder would continue to improve throughout 2018.

“We’re very optimistic about the rest of the year,” he said. “We’re seeing very strong demand for real estate.”

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China Expands Brazil Frontier as Investment Grows

After acquiring a Brazilian builder last year, Beijing-based China Communications Construction Co broke ground in March on a port in the northeastern state of Maranhao that will ship millions of tonnes of agricultural exports per year, most of them likely soybeans that will find their way to the Chinese market. The 1.8 billion-real ($520 million) investment is being financed by Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the world’s largest lender by assets, which set up shop in Brazil in 2013.

The project is part of a new wave of investments in Latin America’s largest economy by Chinese companies which have started to move into logistics, services, telecoms and even financial institutions. For China, it’s an opportunity not only to secure access to natural resources, but also to strengthen its foothold in a region traditionally under U.S. commercial influence.

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Yellow Bike Share start up in Brazil

Yellow, a Brazil-based mobility startup, just raised a $9 million seed round for its dockless bike-share service.
Yellow was founded by Ariel Lambrecht and Renato Freitas, who sold their ride-share company 99 to Didi in a $1 billion deal earlier this year. Yellow’s third co-founder is Eduardo Musa, former CEO of bike manufacturer Caloi.
Yellow intends to use the funding to deploy its first 20,000 dockless bikes. This summer. Yellow plans to deploy a total of 100,000 bikes. Ultimately, Yellow envisions deploying more than one million bikes.
“As local residents, we’re acutely aware of the pain points caused by Brazil’s inefficient public transit, and we built Yellow specifically to address them,” Musa said in a press release. “Our goal is to improve circulation of urban traffic and curb harmful greenhouse gas emissions by providing a fun, cost-effective mode of transportation that integrates with other public transit systems to optimize daily routes in big cities.”
Since e-scooters and e-bikes are the new craze, it’s no surprise Yellow also plans to deploy those modes of transportation.

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