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How a left-wing president seduced Wall Street

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-09-30

When he came to power, the markets were nervous Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva left-wing past. By Sept. 24, 2010, when he was at the stock exchange to witness the world’s largest share offering, the old fears had been put to rest.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will long remember September 24, 2010.

On this day, the Brazilian premier was at the stock exchange to witness the world’s largest-ever share offering when the state-run energy company raised $70 billion through the sale of more than 4 billion common and preferred shares in Brazil and the US.

It was a huge victory for the former metal-worker.

“It was not in Frankfurt or London or New York, it happened in Sao Paulo,” said an exultant Lula. “We launched the biggest capitalisation in history. Thank you. Congratulation Petrobras and the Brazilian stock exchange because we worked hard to get here, we deserve this.”

Little known outside Brazil ten years ago, Petrobras has now become the second largest oil company in the world.

The money from the share offering will fund the company’s ambitious $224 billion dollar plan to develop recently discovered offshore oil fields over the next five years. Petrobras has joined mining giant Vale and the country's construction industry, to represent the strength of the Brazilian economy.

This has not been an accidental success story. Ever since he came to power in 2003, Lula has tirelessly promoted Brazil and its products.

It seems to have worked. Once previously classified as the thirteenth largest economy in the world, Brazil has moved up to the eighth spot. Unemployment rates have fallen, dropping from last year’s 8.1 per cent to 6.1 per cent today.

Lula has also pumped billions of dollars into social programmes to turn around the Latin American country’s historic income inequalities. The result: his country now boasts the largest economy in Latin America.

Analysts expect the economy to grow 7.5 per cent in 2010. And there's more to look forward to: in 2014 Brazil hosts the World Cup. Two years later, the Olympics head to Rio.

That should see Brazilian national pride, as well as the economy, soaring.



Date created : 2010-09-30


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