BRAZIL is not the only emerging economy facing headwinds (see article in this week’s print edition). But it is looking particularly wonky. Having narrowly won a second presidential term on October 26th, this week Dilma Rousseff returned from a spot of post-election R&R to a raft of bad news.
The trade deficit widened to $1.1 billion in October, the highest-ever for the month. It now stands at $1.8 billion so far this year. Both imports and exports fell, pointing to weak activity. An expected uptick in September’s industrial production turned out instead to have been a dip; it has now shrunk for five straight quarters.
Then, on November 5th, it emerged that the ranks of desperately poor Brazilians, unable to afford enough calories to avoid malnutrition, swelled by 371,000 between 2012 and 2013, to 10.4m. This is the first increase since Ms Rousseff’s Workers’ Party (PT) came to power in 2003. It comes as a particular blow to the president, who spent much of the campaign boasting of how much she had done to improve the lot of the indigent. Now it appears that, as the opposition has repeatedly pointed out, social progress under Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who ran the country in 2003-10, has stalled under his protégée.