The Lure of the Orient

Dec 8, 2003

China has become one of Brazil’s biggest trading partners, driven by its voracious demand for commodities. Bankers are benefiting.

China is experiencing an industrial revolution and Brazil has become its supplier of choice for basic commodities, selling goods like soybeans and iron ore in undreamt of quantities. In Portuguese, a big deal is often called 'Um negócio da China’ and Brazil, years behind European and US exporters and investors, is piling into China as if there were no tomorrow. Companies like Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD), the world’s biggest iron ore exporter, Embraer, the world’s fourth aircraft manufacturer, and even banks like São Paulo’s Banco Santos have all identified China as their next great market. Embraer is due to deliver its first locally-assembled regional jet this month.

The Chinese economy is surging ahead, growing 9.1% at the end of the third quarter 2003, leaving Brazil - which has barely grown this year - in the dust. China has become Brazil’s second largest...

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