Brazil named a new finance minister, Joaquim Levy, in hopes of turning around the country’s struggling economy. CCTV America’s Stephen Gibbs reported from Rio de Janeiro.
Banker Joaquim Levy named as Brazil’s new finance ministerBrazil named a new finance minister, Joaquim Levy, in hopes of turning around the country’s struggling economy. CCTV America’s Stephen Gibbs reported from Rio de Janeiro.
Levy’s detractors used to call him “Scissorhands,” owing to his reputation for cost-cutting and austerity.
His last senior federal government post was as treasurer, which was in the administration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Lula led the first leftist administration in Brazil since military rule, but defied the expectations of many by pursuing a fiscally conservative economic program.
Levy, an economist and banker who had previously worked for the International Monetary Fund, was one of the architects of the policy. But Brazil is now facing very different economic challenges. For the last three years, the country has experienced increasingly anemic growth, and rising inflation.
Some said the current finance minister, Guido Mantega, has mismanaged the economy. Mantega, a former Marxist, has been relentlessly criticized by Brazil’s opposition, for his overly optimistic economic forecasts and stubbornly interventionist strategy. He stood down in January for what are described as “personal reasons.”
In recent days, every rumor that Levy might be his replacement has been followed by a rise in Brazil’s stock market.
With the country facing a possible credit downgrade, President Rousseff appeared to have been persuaded that now is the time to appoint a minister that has the markets’ approval.