Monthly Archives: January 2016

Thailand hospitality sector has best year for two decades | Bangkok is Asia’s most popular destination‏

Source: Thailand hospitality sector has best year for two decades | Bangkok is Asia’s most popular destination‏

Source: Thailand hospitality sector has best year for two decades | Bangkok is Asia’s most popular destination‏

Thailand hospitality sector has best year for two decades | Bangkok is Asia’s most popular destination‏

THANKS;Bangkok Business Briefing/Centaur Management Co., Ltd. (Head Office)/Nicola Jones-Crossley
THAILAND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY HAS BEST YEAR IN TWO DECADES
Thailand’s hospitality industry reached new highs in 2015, enjoying its best year in over two decades, according to research revealed exclusively by leading research institute STR Global.
Thailand closed the year with an overall occupancy of 73.4%, an increase of 13.6% over 2014, as arrivals soared to near the 30 million mark, driven by the demand from the mainland China market. December was a particularly strong month as occupancy levels reached 77.4%, the highest levels since 1995.
Organised by C9 Hotelworks, in cooperation with Thailand’s American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and supported by the InterContinental Hotel Group, Thailand Tourism Forum, now in its fifth year, has emerged as an important platform for tourism news and discussion, attracting over 500 registered delegates this year.

Key announcements included global hotel chain InterContinental Hotel Group unveiling expansion plans of its Hotel Indigo brand in Phuket, following its Bangkok launch last year, and Southeast Asia.

“We are delighted to be expanding our boutique hotel brand, Hotel Indigo, after its successful debut in Bangkok with Hotel Indigo Bangkok Wireless Road in 2015. In Thailand, we are slated to open the 180-room Hotel Indigo Phuket Patong in 2018 with our partners Kebsup Group Company Limited,” said Clarence Tan, Senior Vice President, Development, IHG Asia, Middle East & Africa.

The hotel investment community was out in force, led by keynote speaker Kenneth Gaw, President and Managing Principal of Gaw Capital Partners, whose company handles over USD10 billion in hospitality and real estate AUM (Assets Under Management) across the world.

“As a destination for hotel investment, Thailand remains one of our preferred choices because it is one of the most attractive travel destinations in the region,” Gaw said.

“Operating costs are relatively low and there is an abundance of opportunities. Thailand will remain the preferred travel destination for ASEAN and all Asian markets for years and we wish to continue to grow and be part of that. But there is the opportunity for even higher potential if it can achieve long-term political stability and relax foreign ownership restrictions.”

Thailand’s unique position in ASEAN, its upcoming 30 million annual arrivals milestone, the China market and its economic woes and what is termed the “new normal” – a period of almost continual disruption and challenge in the destination – were all addressed – along with the future of the hospitality industry in Thailand.
… AND BANGKOK IS THE REGION’S MOST POPULAR CITY

Bangkok has increased its lead over the pack as the region’s most popular destination, with international overnight visitors breaking the 20 million mark for the first time, according to the results of the inaugural MasterCard Asia Pacific Destinations Index released. Second place was a close fight between Singapore and Tokyo.

The inaugural index provides a ranking of 167 destinations across Asia Pacific. Thailand dominated the top ten destinations, taking three of the top ten rankings, with Phuket securing fifth place (9.3 million) and the coastal city of Pattaya coming in at eighth place (8.1 million).

Half of the top 10 destinations saw 10 percent growth or more in international overnight visitor numbers between 2014 and 2015 – Osaka (54.0 percent), Tokyo (53.2 percent), Bangkok (28.6 percent), Phuket (15.5 percent) and Pattaya (10.0 percent).
The top 20 destinations of Asia Pacific represent around half of all international overnight arrivals to the 167 Asia Pacific destinations covered by the Index.
The top ten Asia Pacific destinations ranked by international overnight visitor numbers:
1.       Bangkok 21.9 million
2.       Singapore 11.8 million
3.       Tokyo  11.8 million
4.       Kuala Lumpur 11.3 million
5.       Phuket 9.3 million
6.       Seoul 9.2 million
7.       Hong Kong 8.3 million
8.       Pattaya 8.1 million
9.       Bali 7.2 million
10.     Osaka 6.5 million
Bangkok also ranked number one in total expenditure at US$15.2 billion, with Seoul (US$14.4 billion) coming in second place, followed by Singapore (US$14.1 billion), Tokyo (US$11.9 billion) and Kuala Lumpur (US$10.5 billion).Asia Pacific’s tourism industry is the largest in the world by total contribution to GDP, having overtaken Europe in 2014. Tourism contributed US$2.27 trillion to Asia Pacific economies and 153.7 million jobs in 2015
Matthew Driver, Group Executive, Global Products & Solutions, Asia Pacific, MasterCard, commented, “The tourism industry in Asia Pacific is continuing to show robust growth with an increasing number of destinations receiving well over five million visitors a year, driven by increased consumer wealth, particularly from China. Our Asia Pacific Destinations Index (APDI) 2015 reveals the continued resilience of the Thailand market for tourism led by a resurgent Bangkok, as well as the return to popularity of Japan for visitors as demonstrated by the more than 50 percent growth year on year in its top four destinations.”
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IMPACT SPENDS 500M BAHT ON EXPANSION

IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Center has set aside a budget of 500 million baht to build a Sky Bridge connecting IMPACT Challenger 1 and the outdoor area at the side of IMPACT Arena and a 5-storey retail building with approximately 8,000 square meters of floor space that will feature retail stores, restaurants, food court, and outlet stores. The company has come up with this investment in response to exhibitors and organizers needs of expanding exhibition space to support the growing popularity of their events.

“Although IMPACT Challenger is the world’s largest column free hall with a combined space of 60,000 square meters and has always been chosen as a preferred venue for large-scale trade fairs and exhibitions at both national and international levels, some events need more space to support an increase in exhibitors, visitors and sales volume as they have become more successful,” said Paul Kanjanapas, Managing Director of IMPACT Exhibition Management.

For example, ThaiFEX and Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair have expanded their floor space to 70,000 square meters and 80,000 square meters respectively by including IMPACT Forum. Meanwhile, OTOP City has spread over IMPACT Exhibition Hall 1-4. And more recently, the Automotive Aftermarket International Trade Fair (AAITF), a part of Thailand International Motor Expo which was held at IMPACT Challenger, took place at IMPACT Forum.

Construction of the Sky Bridge is expected to be fully completed during the next ThaiFEX in May 2016. Meanwhile, the 5-storey retail building is scheduled to open in late 2016.

 

AIS, TRUE IN NATIONAL 4G WAR

 

AIS and True Move both announced intentions to deploy nationwide LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) service over recently bought 4G spectrum.

AIS says it has already deployed in 42 provinces and is investing THB34 billionto take the service nationwide (72 provinces) by March, the Bangkok Post reported. It says it will deploy 7,000 new base stations in the next two months alone using 1.8GHz spectrum.

True plans to invest THB56 billion on 13,500 base stations in n the 1.8GHz band and up to 4,000 base stations on the 900MHz frequency.

AIS will spend THB20 billion to expand its 3G network on the 2.1GHz band and increase its 3G base station total to 27,000. AIS has 38 million mobile connections, giving it a 46 per cent market share.

But while Bangkok hotels might be booming, exports fell more than expected last month.

Exports account for over half the GDP but fell 8.73% in December from a year earlier with the export value of US$17.1 billion, the Commerce Ministry said. The biggest fall was the China market, down 9.5%,

The fall exceeded analyst expectations.

The Bangkok Post said the fall was the highest since the 2011 floods.

THAILAND’S BIGGEST DATA CENTRE BEGINS CONSTRUCTION

Construction has begun on the new THB11 billion SUPERNAP Thailand, located in Hemmaraj Industrial Estate in Thailand’s eastern province Chonburi. SUPERNAP Thailand will be the first Uptime Institute rated Tier IV Gold data center in Asia, as well as the largest data center in the Kingdom.  The facility, which is expected to open in the first quarter of 2017, will have capacity for more than 6,000 data server racks.

“The SUPERNAP Thailand data center is a mirror of Switch SUPERNAP U.S. facilities, which are the first Tier IV Gold carrier-neutral colocation data centers on the planet. This cutting-edge data center will meet the global demand for innovation in Asia Pacific,” said CEO of SUPERNAP International Khaled Bichara. “With the emergence of the AEC and with Thailand’s focus on digital growth, this data center will set a new precedent for quality, security and innovation in Asia Pacific. We look forward to working with Thailand to attract more investment and more growth to the Thai digital economy.”

SUPERNAP International is developing the project in partnership with a group of leading Thai organizations, including CPB Equity, Kasikorn Bank, Siam Commercial Bank and True IDC. Executives from Kasikorn Bank and Siam Commercial Bank say the development of the SUPERNAP Thailand data center will enhance the banks’ use of technology to better serve their customers and provide a homegrown solution for Thai companies that seek to expand their IT capabilities.

“SUPERNAP Thailand aims to generate significant benefits for Thailand’s economy. This unique data center design will not only bring innovative technology to the Kingdom, but will also attract international investors. The facility will play an important role to support the country’s business development by showcasing Thailand as a regional hub for data centers,” said Siam Commercial Bank Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and SUPERNAP Thailand Chairman Deepak Sarup.

The new SUPERNAP Thailand data center will cover an area of nearly 75 rai or 12 hectares and will be strategically built outside the flood zone, 110-meters above sea level and only 27 kilometers away from the international submarine cable landing station, which links the facility to national and international telecoms and IT carriers.

ONYX USES REVCASTER

 

Leading international hospitality provider ONYX Hospitality Group has switched to Rainmaker’s competitive rate shopping tool, Revcaster, citing Revcaster’s functionality, the incremental revenue it generates, and the Rainmaker team’s responsiveness. Revcasterâ?Ts compatibility with numerous regional channels also factored into ONYXâ?Ts decision.
“Most critical for me in selecting a technology vendor is the partnership aspect,” said Stefan Wolf, senior vice-president, revenue and distribution strategy for ONYX. “From first contact, Rainmaker was prompt in responding to our needs and its product and services have proven very flexible. Of the presentations we received, we determined Rainmaker’s Revcaster best served our needs and, in fact, included some unexpected useful extras.”

Collecting market-specific hotel price information from hundreds of branded sites and online agencies, Revcaster provides deep-dive local knowledge and analysis, giving property managers the market intelligence and control to make real-time decisions that optimize rates. Easy-to-use downloadable reports are available anytime online in daily, weekly and other formats. Pricing data downloads into any revenue management tool or PMS.

Headquartered in Bangkok, ONYX Hospitality Group operates four diverse yet complementary brands Saffron, Amari, Shama and OZO each catering to the distinctive requirements of todayâ?Ts business and leisure travellers.

FABRINET HIRES NEW CTO
Fabrinet, a Bangkok based provider of advanced optical packaging and precision optical, electro-mechanical and electronic manufacturing services to original equipment manufacturers of complex products, said Dr Hong Q. Hou has joined the company as Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer. Dr. Hou brings to Fabrinet extensive technical and executive-level experience in the semiconductor and fiber-optic communication industries. In 1998 he co-founded EMCORE Corporationâ?Ts photovoltaic division and led the commercialization of high-efficiency multi-junction solar cell technology for space power applications.  Dr. Hou holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at San Diego, and he has completed executive management courses at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Early in his career he conducted research at the AT&T Bell Laboratories and the Sandia National Laboratories. He holds eight U.S. patents and has published more than 200 technical articles

GLOBAL MARKET ADVISORS HIRES NEW ASIA HEAD
Global Market Advisors, a leading consulting firm to the casino gaming, hotel, and airline industries, said Shaun McCamley has joined the company as head of its Asia regional office.  Due to the company’s growth, GMA recently moved to larger space in the central business district of Bangkok, Thailand, which is where Shaun will be based.  GMA continues to invest and expand in the Asian gaming and hospitality segment, providing clients with services such as financial feasibility reports, marketing strategies, internet/ social gaming, and government relations.
BANGKOK TO GAIN DIRECT FLIGHT FROM URUMQI
Bangkok has been chosen as the destination of the first direct flight linking northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to a Southeast Asian country, Urumqi Diwopu International Airport announced according to the China Daily.
The flight will be operated by China Southern Airlines between Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, and Bangkok, the airport said in a statement. Flights will be on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday each week, with a stopover at Lanzhou, capital of northwestern China’s Gansu province.
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SunEdison To Cover 25 California School Parking Lots With Solar

Vaniceseasonal's Blog

January 15th, 2016

TALK TO THE future…!!!!!

SunEdison-4-270x180.jpg

SunEdison has announced that it has signed an agreement with 25 California schools to provide solar covering for their parking lots.

The world’s largest renewable energy development company made the announcement this week. SunEdison signed solar power purchase agreements with 25 California elementary, middle, and high schools, to provide high-performance solar parking canopies at each of the campuses parking lots.

SunEdison-4SunEdison predicts that the agreement will save the schools more than $30 million on energy costs over the next 20 years.

“Installing a SunEdison solar system is one of the most immediate and effective means for schools to control their energy costs, and thanks to California’s reasonable net metering policy this option is available to all schools in the state,” said Sam Youneszadeh, SunEdison’s regional general manager of its Western US solar business. “Using parking lot space for solar solves two problems: it…

View original post 237 more words

SunEdison To Cover 25 California School Parking Lots With Solar

January 15th, 2016

TALK TO THE future…!!!!!

SunEdison-4-270x180.jpg

SunEdison has announced that it has signed an agreement with 25 California schools to provide solar covering for their parking lots.

The world’s largest renewable energy development company made the announcement this week. SunEdison signed solar power purchase agreements with 25 California elementary, middle, and high schools, to provide high-performance solar parking canopies at each of the campuses parking lots.

SunEdison-4SunEdison predicts that the agreement will save the schools more than $30 million on energy costs over the next 20 years.

“Installing a SunEdison solar system is one of the most immediate and effective means for schools to control their energy costs, and thanks to California’s reasonable net metering policy this option is available to all schools in the state,” said Sam Youneszadeh, SunEdison’s regional general manager of its Western US solar business. “Using parking lot space for solar solves two problems: it provides much-needed shade for cars from the scorching California sun, and it lowers electricity costs – typically a school’s second largest expense. We’ve helped more than 150 schools become not only more self-sufficient, but also enabled them to free up funds to maintain their buildings and ensure they continue to be safe and positive learning environments.”

Five unified school districts are involved in the agreement — Dixon, Downey, Duarte, Livermore, and Newman Crows Landing. Each district signed a 20-year power purchase agreement for the installation of more than 7.4 MW of solar parking canopies, which not only generate solar electricity for the school, but go a step further and provide shade from said-solar energy to the cars beneath.

“This project shows how districts can become more self-sufficient financially,” said Dr. Allan Mucerino, Duarte Unified School District’s Superintendent. “And from an educational perspective, our students can learn how consumers make decisions about purchasing energy. I’m excited that we’re able to provide a hands-on experience for our students, with these solar systems we are teaching our students about one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy.”

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Six stories show renewable energy underpins a climate-friendly future

Vaniceseasonal's Blog

Thanks;Andy Shuai Liu

In 2015 the world saw great momentum for climate action, culminating in a historic agreement in December to cut carbon emissions and contain global warming. It was also a year of continued transformation for the energy sector. For the first time in history, a global sustainable development goal was adopted solely for energy, aiming for: access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

To turn this objective into reality while mitigating climate change impacts, more countries are upping their game and going further with solar, wind, geothermal and other sources of renewable energy. As we usher in 2016, these stories from around the world present a flavor of how they are leading the charge toward a climate-friendly future.

morocco_solar_long.gif1: Morocco is rising to be a “solar superpower.” On the edge of the Sahara desert, the Middle East’s top energy-importing country is building one…

View original post 507 more words

Six stories show renewable energy underpins a climate-friendly future

Thanks;Andy Shuai Liu

In 2015 the world saw great momentum for climate action, culminating in a historic agreement in December to cut carbon emissions and contain global warming. It was also a year of continued transformation for the energy sector. For the first time in history, a global sustainable development goal was adopted solely for energy, aiming for: access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

To turn this objective into reality while mitigating climate change impacts, more countries are upping their game and going further with solar, wind, geothermal and other sources of renewable energy. As we usher in 2016, these stories from around the world present a flavor of how they are leading the charge toward a climate-friendly future.

morocco_solar_long.gif

1: Morocco is rising to be a “solar superpower.” On the edge of the Sahara desert, the Middle East’s top energy-importing country is building one of the world’s largest concentrated solar power plants. When fully operational, the Noor-Ouarzazate power complex will produce enough energy for more than one million Moroccans and reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels by 2.5 million tons of oil.

bangladesh_solar_long.gif

2: In Bangladesh, the number of solar-powered homes is surging, making it the world’s fastest expansion of solar energy. About 3.5 million homes—or 18 million Bangladeshis— now have electricity thanks to solar home systems. This means that besides reducing carbon emissions, these systems will help children at home, make it safer for women to walk at night, assist families to receive remittances more easily, and help more people find jobs.

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3: China is turning 800 primary and middle schools in Beijing into “sunshine schools.” Once the project is completed, the rooftops of these schools will be covered with 100 megawatts of solar panels to power classrooms for teachers and students, making way for bluer skies and healthier air for local residents and more awareness about the environment in young hearts and minds. This will also help bolster China’s efforts to scale up renewable energy and reach its ambitious climate targets set at COP21.

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4: Mexico’s efforts to promote more efficient household lighting have gone nationwide. The country has achieved an energy efficiency milestone by distributing almost 23 million energy-saving light bulbs for free. More than 5.5 million Mexican families now use energy-saving lamps. This helps these families save up to 18 percent on their electricity bill, and prevents an estimated 1.4 million tons of CO2 emissions each year.

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5: Tanzania holds immense potential in solar and wind power, according to an energy mapping study taking place in 12 countries. The study finds that the country has solar resources equivalent to Spain’s and its potential for wind power exceeds that of the U.S. state of California. What does that mean for those who lack electricity access in Tanzania? One potential success story is the hundreds of rural water points that will soon be powered by solar energy, making it more affordable for farming communities to operate and maintain rural water systems.

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6: Turkey has achieved a substantial growth of renewable energy in recent years. Since 2001, the country has commissioned 16,000 MW private sector hydro, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources. Today, more private investment continues to pour into Turkey to propel its power sector modernization. Supported by the Clean Technology Fund, private sector renewable energy and energy efficiency projects financed by EBRD, IFC and the World Bank are helping avoid an estimated 5 million tons of CO2 emissions each year.

Similar results are being achieved in India, Kenya, Mongolia and many other countries around the world. Now that the climate deal has been struck, it’s time for countries to scale up action to make their economic development more sustainable and fully climate operational.

How can your country play a bigger part in ensuring sustainable energy for all? Watch a video and leave a comment.

Ending Energy Poverty

 

Irredeemable?

Thanks;The Economist
Brazil’s crisis
Published;JAN,04
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A former star of the emerging world faces a lost decade

 Jan 2nd 2016  | RIO DE JANEIRO | From the print edition

THE longest recession in a century; the biggest bribery scandal in history; the most unpopular leader in living memory. These are not the sort of records Brazil was hoping to set in 2016, the year in which Rio de Janeiro hosts South America’s first-ever Olympic games. When the games were awarded to Brazil in 2009 Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, then president and in his pomp, pointed proudly to the ease with which a booming Brazil had weathered the global financial crisis. Now Lula’s handpicked successor, Dilma Rousseff, who began her second term in January 2015, presides over an unprecedented roster of calamities.

By the end of 2016 Brazil’s economy may be 8% smaller than it was in the first quarter of 2014, when it last saw growth; GDP per person could be down by a fifth since its peak in 2010, which is not as bad as the situation in Greece, but not far off. Two ratings agencies have demoted Brazilian debt to junk status. Joaquim Levy, who was appointed as finance minister last January with a mandate to cut the deficit, quit in December. Any country where it is hard to tell the difference between the inflation rate—which has edged into double digits—and the president’s approval rating—currently 12%, having dipped into single figures—has serious problems.

Ms Rousseff’s political woes are as crippling as her economic ones. Thirty-two sitting members of Congress, mostly from the coalition led by her left-wing Workers’ Party (PT), are under investigation for accepting billions of dollars in bribes in exchange for padded contracts with the state-controlled oil-and-gas company, Petrobras. On December 15th the police raided several offices of the Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB), a partner in Ms Rousseff’s coalition led by the vice-president, Michel Temer.

Brazil’s electoral tribunal is investigating whether to annul Ms Rousseff’s re-election in 2014 over dodgy campaign donations. In December members of Congress began debating her impeachment. The proceedings were launched by the speaker of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha (who though part of the PMDB considers himself in opposition) on the grounds that Ms Rousseff tampered with public accounts to hide the true size of the budgetary hole. Some see the impeachment as a way to divert attention from Mr Cunha’s own problems; Brazil’s chief prosecutor wants him stripped of his privileged position so that his role in the Petrobras affair can be investigated more freely. Mr Cunha denies any wrongdoing.

Brazil is no stranger to crises. Following the end of two decades of military rule in 1985, the first directly elected president, Fernando Collor, was impeached in 1992. After a “lost decade” of stagnation and hyperinflation ended in the mid-1990s the economy was knocked sideways by the emerging-markets turmoil of 1997-98. In the mid-2000s politics was beset by the scandal of a bribes-for-votes scheme known as the mensalão (“big monthly”, for the size and schedule of the payments), which eventually saw Lula’s chief of staff jailed in 2013.

Yet rarely, if ever, have shocks both external and domestic, political and economic, conspired as they do today. During the original lost decade global conditions were relatively benign; in the crisis of the late 1990s the tough measures to quell inflation and revive growth taken after Mr Collor’s departure stood Brazil in moderately good stead; when scandal rocked the 2000s commodity markets were booming.

A sad convergence

Now prices of Brazilian commodities such as oil, iron ore and soya have slumped: a Brazilian commodities index compiled by Credit Suisse, a bank, has fallen by 41% since its peak in 2011. The commodities bust has hit economies around the world, but Brazil has fared particularly badly, with its structural weaknesses—poor productivity and unaffordable, misdirected public spending—exacerbating the damage. Regardless of what she may or may not have done with respect to the impeachment charge, Ms Rousseff’s cardinal sin is her failure to have confronted these problems in her previous term, when she had some political room for manoeuvre. Instead, that term was marked by loose fiscal and monetary policies, incessant microeconomic meddling and fickle policymaking that bloated the budget, stoked inflation and sapped confidence.

Poor though her record has been, some of these problems have deeper roots in what is in some ways a great achievement: the federal constitution of 1988, which enshrined the transition from military to democratic rule. This 70,000-word doorstop of a document crams in as many social, political and economic rights as its drafters could dream up, some of them highly specific: a 44-hour working week; a retirement age of 65 for men and 60 for women. The “purchasing power” of benefits “shall be preserved”, it proclaims, creating a powerful ratchet on public spending.20160102_FBC854

Since the constitution’s enactment, federal outlays have nearly doubled to 18% of GDP; total public spending is over 40%. Some 90% of the federal budget is ring-fenced either by the constitution or by legislation. Constitutionally protected pensions alone now swallow 11.6% of GDP, a higher proportion than in Japan, whose citizens are a great deal older. By 2014 the government was running a primary deficit (ie, before interest payments) of 32.5 billion reais ($13.9 billion) (see chart).

Mr Levy tried to live up to the nickname he had earned during an earlier stint as a treasury official—“Scissorhands”—with record-breaking cuts of 70 billion reais from discretionary spending. But Mansueto Almeida, a public-finance expert, points out that this work was more than countered by constitutionally mandated spending increases; government expenditure as a share of output rose in 2015. On top of that, a new scrupulousness in government accounting surely not unrelated to the impeachment proceedings has seen 57 billion reais in unpaid bills from years past newly recognised by the treasury.

Nor could Mr Levy easily fill the fiscal hole by raising taxes. Taxes already consume 36% of GDP, up from a quarter in 1991. And the recession has hit tax receipts hard. On December 18th, days after Fitch, a rating agency, followed the lead of Standard & Poor’s in downgrading Brazilian debt, Mr Levy threw in the towel. His job went to Nelson Barbosa, previously the planning minister, who insists he is committed to following the same policies. But before his elevation Mr Barbosa made no secret of favouring a more gradual fiscal adjustment—for example, a primary surplus of 0.5% of GDP in 2016, against Mr Levy’s preferred 0.7% (and an original promise of 2% a year ago). The real and the São Paulo stockmarket tumbled on news of his appointment.

Analysts at Barclays, a bank, expect debt to reach 93% of GDP by 2019; among big emerging markets only Ukraine and Hungary are more indebted. The figure may still seem on the safe side compared with 197% in Greece or 246% in Japan. But those are rich countries; Brazil is not. As a proportion of its wealth Brazil’s public debt is higher than that of Japan and nearly twice that of Greece.

Unable to increase taxes, Ms Rousseff’s government may prefer something even more troubling to investors and consumers alike: inflation. Faced with the inflationary pressure that has come with the devalued real, the Central Bank has held its nerve, increasing its benchmark rate by three percentage points since October 2014 and keeping it at 14.25% since July in the face of the recession. But despite this juicy rate the real continues to depreciate.

There is a worry that the bank may be unable to raise rates further for fear of making public debt unmanageable—what is known as “fiscal dominance”. This year the treasury spent around 7% of GDP servicing public debt. What is more, raising rates may have the perverse effect of stoking inflation rather than quenching it; an increasing risk of default as borrowing costs grow is likely to see investors dumping government bonds, provoking further currency depreciation.

A handful of economists, including Monica de Bolle of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, believe that Brazil is on the verge of fiscal dominance. And once interest rates no longer have a hold on inflation, she says, it can quickly spiral out of control. Forecasts by Credit Suisse warn that prices could be rising by 17% in 2017. Three-quarters of government spending remains linked to the price level, embedding past inflation in future prices. That said, the economy as a whole is much less indexed than it was in the hyperinflationary early 1990s. That leaves the government a bit more time, thinks Marcos Lisboa of Insper, a university in São Paulo. But not much more: perhaps a year or two.

Despite this pressing economic need for speed there seems to be no political capacity for it. Members of Congress are consumed by Ms Rousseff’s impeachment. By February they must decide whether to send her case to the Senate, which would require the votes of three-fifths of the 513 deputies in the lower house. To fend off such a decision Ms Rousseff is rallying her left-wing, anti-austerity base.

Gently doesn’t always do it

These efforts are meeting with some success: in December pro-government rallies drew more people than anti-government ones for the first time all year. It looks unlikely that the impeachment will indeed move to the Senate (which would trigger a further six months of turmoil). But this hardly provides a political climate conducive to belt-tightening, let alone to the amendment of the constitution which Mr Barbosa has said is needed to deal with the ratchet effect on benefits. Fiscal adjustment is anathema to the government workers and union members who are Ms Rousseff’s core supporters.

Like the country’s economic problems, its political ones, while specific to today’s particular scandals and manoeuvring, can be traced to the transition of the 1980s. History reveals a consistent tendency towards negotiated consensus at Brazil’s political watersheds; it can be seen in the war- and regicide-free independence declared in 1822, the military coup of 1964, which was mild compared with the blood-soaked affairs in Chile and Argentina, and the transition that created the new constitution. One aspect of this often admirable trait is a resistance to purging. The mid-1980s saw a lot of institutions—the federal police, the public prosecutor’s office, the judiciary, assorted regulators—overhauled or created afresh. But many of the old regime kept their jobs in the civil service and elsewhere. The transition was thus bound to be a generational affair.

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So it is now proving, with a retiring old guard being replaced by fresh blood often educated abroad. In 2013 the average judge was 45 years old, meaning he entered university in a democratic Brazil. Civil servants are getting younger and better qualified, says Gleisson Rubin, who heads the National School of Public Administration. More than a quarter now boast a postgraduate degree, up from a tenth in 2002. Sérgio Moro, the crusading 43-year-old federal judge who oversees the Petrobras investigations, and Deltan Dallagnol, the case’s 35-year-old lead prosecutor, are the most famous faces of this new generation.

Unfortunately, this rejuvenation does not extend to the institution most in need of it: Congress. Its younger faces typically have family ties to the old guard. “Party politics is a market for lemons,” says Fernando Haddad, the fresh-faced PT mayor of São Paulo and a rare exception to the dynastic rule, nodding to George Akerlof’s classic analysis of adverse selection in the market for used cars: it attracts the venal and repels the honest. Consultants who have advised consecutive Congresses agree that each one is feebler than the last.

Brazilians have noticed the decline, and are transferring their hopes accordingly. “Judges and prosecutors are becoming more legitimate representatives of the Brazilian people than politicians,” says Norman Gall of the Braudel Institute, a think-tank in São Paulo. Everyone wants a selfie with Mr Moro and, disturbingly, nearly half of Brazilians think that military intervention is justified to combat corruption, according to a recent poll. Barely one in five trusts legislators; just 29% identify with a political party.

Monthly, oily, deeply

That last fact is perhaps particularly impressive given that they have so many parties to choose from. Keen to promote pluralism the constitution’s framers set no national cut-off below which a party’s votes would not count. It is possible to get into Congress with less than 1% of the vote: in principle, it could be done with 0.02%. As a result the number of parties has grown from a dozen in 1990 to 28 today. The three biggest—the PT, the PMDB and the opposition centre-right Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB)—together account for just 182 of 513 seats in the lower house and 42 out of 81 senators.

One of the causes of the mensalão scandal was corruption that provided Lula’s government with a way to get the votes it needed from the disparate small parties. The petrolão (“big oily”, as the Petrobras affair is widely known) apparently shared a similar aim. Such ruses may have helped PT governments pass some good laws, such as an extension of the successful Bolsa Família (family fund) cash-transfer programme. But the party was not able to do all that it had said it would; potentially helpful reforms in which it was less invested fell by the wayside. Raphael Di Cunto of Pinheiro Neto, a big law firm in São Paulo, points to many antiquated statutes in need of an update, such as the Mussolini-inspired labour code (from 1943) and laws governing foreign investments (1962) and capital markets (1974).

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A Congress in which dysfunction feeds corruption which feeds further dysfunction is not one likely to take the hard decisions that the economy needs. But this is the Congress Brazil has: though there will be local elections in October 2016, congressional elections, like the next presidential poll, are not due until 2018. Can Brazil’s public finances hold out that long?

Many prominent economists think they just about can. They forecast a “muddling-through” in which Ms Rousseff holds on to her job, Congress passes a few modest spending cuts and tax rises, including a financial-transactions levy, the Central Bank continues to fight inflation, the cheap real boosts exports and investors don’t panic. After three years of this, the theory goes, an electorate fed up with stagnation and sleaze will give the PSDB a clear mandate for change. Ms Rousseff narrowly defeated the party’s candidate in 2014 by deriding his calls for prudence as heartless “neoliberalism”, only to propose a similar agenda (through gritted teeth) immediately after winning. If proposed by a PSDB in power that actually believed in them, such measures might receive cross-party support—though given the PSDB’s spiteful unwillingness to support Mr Levy’s measures in 2015 this would not be without irony.

Such a scenario is possible. Figures for the third quarter of 2015 show exports picking up. Price rises could slow down as steep increases in government-controlled prices for petrol and electricity put in place in 2015 run their course. Politicians and policymakers are keenly aware that Brazilians are less tolerant of inflation than in the 1980s and 1990s, when rates of 10% would have seemed mild.

Investors are staying put, at least in aggregate. Yield-hungry asset managers are taking the place of pension and mutual funds that left in anticipation of Brazil’s inevitable demotion to junk status. The real has fallen 31% since the start of 2015 and the stockmarket is down by 12.4%; but though battered they are not knocked flat. The banking system is well capitalised and, observers agree, diligently monitored by the Central Bank. The $250 billion in foreign-denominated debt racked up by Brazilian companies during the commodity-price-fuelled binge has ballooned in local-currency terms and remains a worry. But much of it is hedged through the firms’ own dollar revenues or with swaps—though settling some of those swaps has cost the government, which sold them, some 2% of GDP this year.

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The sardonic Mr Lisboa observes with uncharacteristic optimism that “at last people are talking seriously about Brazil’s structural problems”. Fiscal dominance has left arcane discussions among economic theorists and burst onto newspaper columns. Mr Barbosa is openly discussing pension reform and the constitutional change that would have to go with it. In October the PMDB, which tends to lag behind public opinion more than to lead it, published a manifestothat talked about privatising state businesses and raising the retirement age. Even the famously stubborn Ms Rousseff has begun to listen rather than to hector, says a foreign economic dignitary who met her recently.

But the fact that muddling through may be possible does not mean it is assured. It hinges on the hope that politicians come to their senses more quickly than they have done in the past (witness the lost decade begun in the 1980s). It also assumes that Brazil’s penchant for consensus will hold its people back from social unrest on the sort of scale that topples regimes in other countries. The anti-government protests of 2015 were large, drawing up to a million people in a single day. But they were middle-class affairs which took place on sporadic Sundays, causing Ms Rousseff more annoyance than grief. As wages sag and unemployment rises, though, tempers could flare. If they do there will be every chance of a facile populist response that does even deeper economic damage.

Should Ms Rousseff be booted out—through impeachment, annulment of the election or coerced resignation (none of which looks likely just now)—chaos would surely ensue. Her core supporters may be less numerous than they once were, but she has many more than Mr Collor had in 1992. They would close ranks against the “coup-mongers”.

The strength of Brazil’s institutions suggests something shy of the failed populist experiments of some South American neighbours. And the fact that voters in Argentina and Venezuela rebuffed that populism in the past few months has not escaped the notice of Brazil’s politicians. But every month of dithering and every new petrolão revelation chips away at Brazil’s prospects. The 2010s are already certain to be another lost decade; GDP per person won’t rebound for years to come.

It will be a long time before a president can match the pride with which Lula showed off his Olympic trophy. But if Brazil’s politicians get their act together, the 2020s could be cheerier. Alas, if they do not, things will get a great deal worse.