Economic Turmoil and the Future of Brazil

For many years, Brazil has been an emerging economic hub, attracting investors from all over the world. The Brazilian economy saw an 368% increase in Gross Domestic Product growth from 2003 to 2011. In addition, Brazil took in almost half of Foreign Direct Investment flowing into South America during 2015. This doesn’t come as a surprise since it reigns as one of the major emerging national economies. However, Brazil has seen a recent economic downturn with increasing unemployment and a contracting GDP. In fact, the Brazilian government cut 2017 GDP expectations from 1.6% to 1% growth. Having been one the most lucrative foreign investments for governments to individual investors, what happened to the so-called “Country of the Future” and can Brazil regain its momentum?

Back in 2015, recession hit Brazil hard and the country is still struggling to get back on track. According to the CIA World Factbook, the economy contracted 32% from its peak in 2011 and unemployment reached a new high at 12.6% in 2016. Being based mostly on services, agriculture and oil, Brazil’s economy has a direct correlation with global demand. With global recession looming, Brazil is feeling the effects of a slow world economy.

Brazil is a top tourist destination offering beautiful beaches, a diverse culture and exciting festivals. However, with the world economy slowing down, people are less likely to travel abroad. Since the majority of the country’s GDP derives from the service industry, Brazil will not be able to rebound any time soon unless there is a major boost in consumer confidence.

The demand for Brazilian exports was slashed when its largest trading partner, China, entered into an economic slowdown of their own. The decrease in exports caused massive layoffs throughout the nation. The notorious economic downward spiral began by wary consumer spending as unemployment rose. Companies that tried to gain capital by borrowing in U.S. dollars found it difficult to pay back those loans as the Brazilian Real crashed 25% in the span of a year in 2015.

One of the major hits came from low oil prices and the corruption of Petrobras, a large oil company and Brazil’s largest source of investment. Brazil is major producer of oil, exporting $11.8 billion worth in 2015, according to the Observatory for Economic Complexity. OPEC delivered a major blow when the cartel decided not to cut oil production, causing oil futures prices to plunge. In order to cope with heavy losses, Petrobras was forced to sell off assets and halt future research and expansion plans.

As if things weren’t going poorly, Petrobras was also caught in a scandal with former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and other high office executives. From 2004 to 2012, the company had spent over $2 billion on bribes to politicians whom would allow the company to charge inflated prices for construction contracts. Now that the scandal has unfolded, Petrobras executives face jail time and the company as a whole is forced to pay billions in fines.

So what does the future hold for Brazil?

Although at the moment the future looks dim, there are still signs of hope Brazil can turn itself around. The Real has seemed to stabilize in 2016 and heads into 2017 with an upward trend. Moreover, experts’ GDP projections for 2018 through 2020 show promising figures that Brazil can restore pre-recession level growth.

Even more promising, U.S. companies are still showing faith in Brazil’s future. American Airlines plans to invest $100 million in an aircraft maintenance center in Sao Paulo. Brazilian Investment Partnership Minister Wellington Moreira Franco and many countries like the United States, United Kingdom, France and Japan agree there are still reasons to invest in Brazil. This should be seen as a sign of confidence that the Brazilian market will grow soundly with the support of both national and international investment.

Global Trends in the Cosmetic Industry

Cosmetic dyes and colours: Explained

Cosmetic colours are also known as cosmetic lakes. These colours are produced by taking the help of absorption of dyes that are water-soluble onto a substrate. It makes the colour insoluble in water. Cosmetic lake colours are made by making use of unique technology. The technology helps in attaining extremely fine particles. These particles help in achieving shade consistency. In comparison water soluble colours, cosmetic lakes are much more stable & safe. They also generate vivacious and brighter colours. It has been seen that cosmetic pigments and lakes are more suitable for food products that contain fats and oils. They are also suitable for those products that do not contain enough moisture for dissolving colours.

Cosmetic dyes, on the other hand are used for making cosmetic colours & products. These dyes are widely used by the cosmetic manufacturing industries and businesses all over the world. They are primarily used for manufacturing hair dyes, lipsticks, nail polishes, shampoo as well as other personal care products. It has been seen that generally water soluble & food dyes are very easy and safe to use. These dyes are mostly used for a wide variety of applications. They include cleaning chemicals, soaps, medicine, cosmetic products etc.

Know which ones are safe for use

Be it the use of any type of cosmetic dyes or cosmetic colorants safety of use is a primary consideration. Cosmetic colours and cosmetic dyes often make use of a wide range of synthetic colours. These are often referred to as FD&C colours. They are mainly extracted through coal tar and are basically a by-product of petroleum. Research shows that some particular coal tar based dyes lead to different types of cancer. This is why the FDA regulates them. They also determine the arsenic or lead amount they contain. Thus there are many restrictions in the use of such colours.

Some global trends in Cosmetic dyes and cosmetic colours

Worldwide it is seen that North America, followed by Europe, has the largest market for colour cosmetics. This is due to innovations in colour cosmetics. Other factors also include high consumer disposable income and frequent new product launches in colour cosmetic market in the region. However Asia too is expected to show high growth rate in the colour cosmetics market in next few years. This is on account of the increasing consumer incomes and rising in awareness about personal care products in the region.

Chase Bank Loan Modifications

Chase Bank recently announced that from Jan -July 2010, it has assisted approximately 900,000 homeowners interested in modifying their home loan. What’s interesting about this announcement is that Chase is actually doing something to address the three major complaints that have plagued both HAMP (the Federal “Home Affordable Mortgage Program) as well as the entire banking and loan modification industry. Here are the three major pitfalls and what Chase is doing about them.

Problem One. The loan modification process confuses most homeowners.. The majority of homeowners throughout the United States originally purchased their home through a realtor or mortgage broker who held their hand throughout the buying process and guided them. To help bring a homeowner up to speed to do a loan modification, Chase now assigns a counselor to each customer that is working with Chase; this counselor walks the customer through the modification process and is their primary contact with Chase from start to finish.

Problem Two. Banks commonly lose documentation and ask homeowners to resend documents. Most homeowners who have encountered financial difficulty find it difficult to send the necessary documentation to a lender and hold a job at the same time. What makes things worse, some homeowners learn that after sneaking off at lunch to fax the financials from a Kinko’s, that the documents previously sent were either lost, incorrect or never received by the financial institution. The other day, for example, a person at a bank notified me that an application had been rejected because it was missing a zipcode on the address. She told me that resubmitting the correct document should be an easy task, not knowing how precarious the current job market is and how difficult some companies make it for their employees to do personal tasks while on the job. To make things easier for homeowners, Chase has established a centralized location for document collection and imaging, making it easier to review a customer’s file and reducing the need for borrowers to resend documents.

Problem Three. Loan modifications take too long. Most homeowners have been promised that their modification will be approved after making three monthly trial payments only to learn that after making seven or eight trial payments they are no closer to gaining approval than when they first started. To help speed things up, Chase has hired 8,000 new credit counselors to help complete the loan modification evaluation within 30 days of receiving borrower’s completed application package.

By expanding their team to assist customers, Chase can now weed through their applicants more effectively. They can communicate better and help those fortunate enough to qualify and discover the homeowners who are not eligible for a modification but who might want to pursue a short sale or other foreclosure prevention option. Still the statistics for loan modification approval from Chase are not encouraging. From Jan – July of 2010, only 27% of the modification applicants offered for the Chase HAMP program had gained approval, and 38% of applicants through Chase Bank’s own loan modification program had been approved. But at least it’s a start in the right direction!