Don’t bet on Bolsonaro


20th December 2018

By Robert Amsterdam, founding partner and international lawyer at Amsterdam & Partners LLP in Washington, D.C.
On New Year’s Day, Brazilians will watch as the former army captain and congressman from Rio de Janeiro, Jair Bolsonaro, is inaugurated as the next President of Brazil. Bolsonaro, an ultra-conservative nationalist, is largely considered to be a product of Brazilian’s widespread frustration over the country’s chronic troubles with violence, corruption, inequality and economic malaise. And like the majority of Brazilian voters who selected his name at the polls, foreign investors and multinationals were, throughout the campaign, decidedly in favor of a Bolsonaro presidency – but the fireworks shouldn’t be dusted off just yet.
The exaggerated enthusiasm of global investors and multinational companies long frustrated by the country’s wearisome business environment may come to endanger their ledgers in the long run.
Entirely overlooking Mr. Bolsonaro’s admiration for Brazil’s past military dictatorship and his inflammatory rhetoric, Brazilian and global investors expect that the arrival of his administration portends a new era of deregulation and fiscal conservatism that may unlock Brazil’s full business potential.
The president-elect’s promises to slash the deficit, reform the country’s convoluted tax system, and tackle the boogeyman of pension reform have all been well received. The day after polls closed in October, the Ibovespa index, the benchmark Brazil …

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