Magazine article Global Finance

Finance Minister Wins Praise for Steering a Steady Course

Magazine article Global Finance

Finance Minister Wins Praise for Steering a Steady Course

Article excerpt

BRAZIL

By using a careful blend of charm, patience and intelligence, Brazil's finance minister has managed to nudge South America's largest economy into one of its stablest periods in nearly decade.

Since assuming the nation's top finance post in January of 2003, Antonio Palocci has diligently used the political savvy he gained in local politics to negotiate with the public, congress and even Brazilian President Luiz lnacio LuIa da Suva himself.

Analysts say those finely honed political skills-plus a strong understanding of economic and fiscal policy-have enabled him to balance a commitment to his leftist Workers Party's social goals with the prudent financial management of Brazil's economy.

"He's balanced pressure from the international markets and from his own party," says Morgan Harting, director, sovereign ratings, at Fitch Ratings in New York. "He deserves a lot of praise for that."

And for the first time in years Brazil is experiencing positive economic news on several fronts: inflation has been dropping and was expected to log in at 7% for 2004 as the economy grew at an annual rate of about 5%. …

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