Bolsonaro takes aim against Chinese investments

Bolsonaro takes aim against Chinese investments

M&A Project & Infrastructure Finance Regulation Politics Energy Corporate & Sovereign Strategy Economy & Policy Brazil China

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Chinese investments in Brazil could fall again this year if President Jair Bolsonaro pursues a nationalist agenda against the wishes of his economic team, LatinFinance has heard.

"Investments could theoretically increase if Bolsonaro pushes through reforms, but he has also said he may limit Chinese companies from making massive infrastructure investments that affect national interests," said an economist in São Paulo.

Bolsonaro's threats to curtail Chinese investments could run counter to the wishes of his market-minded economic team, the economist said. "I expect to see future tension in Bolsonaro's cabinet over this issue," he added.

Chinese companies have invested billions of dollars in Brazil's energy sector in recent years, and now they are looking at hydroelectric and nuclear power assets in the country.

Foreign direct investment from China, however, sank 75% to $2.8bn in 2018, according to the economist.

The Brazilian government has said it plans to award BRL180bn in infrastructure concessions and PPPs this year, including 12 airports and four port terminals in the first quarter.