Brazil is emerging from the most devastating recession in 90 years. The GDP output grew by 1.0 percent in the first quarter of 2017. Even though government officials say the recession is over, some Brazilian business leaders disagree. More than 14 million Brazilians lost their jobs over the last four years, inflation is still over 10 percent, and the political strength of the country is being tested once again. But the record harvest of soybeans and an increase in exports gave the economy a boost in the first quarter.
The Brazilian stock market took a nosedive in May, but most economists and Brazilian business leaders believe the worst is over. One of those business leaders, Flavio Maluf, the CEO of building material manufacturer, Eucatex, is looking at the bright side. President Michel Temer is organizing new trade agreements with the United States and China. And Britain is looking for investment opportunities now that Brexit is underway.
Even though Brazil is in the world news because of the recession, Flavio Maluf believes there are several bright spots in the Brazilian economy. Flavio is excited about the new Brazilian tech startups, and he is also backing the Paris Climate Agreement. Maluf is a dedicated environmentalist. His eucalyptus tree planting program is a success. And his effort to reduce the country’s dependency on fossil fuel is well-known in the state of Sao Paulo, as well as in Rio, and in other cities.
Maluf is not giving up on Brazil’s ability to bounce back. He is helping the economic comeback by exporting more building materials to countries in Europe, and to states in North America. Eucatex produces paint, varnishes, floorboards, ceiling tiles, and other building products, and they are sold in home improvement stores across the United States. Eucatex products are also popular with Brazilian construction companies and with other companies in South America.
Flavio Maluf is also one of Brazil’s biggest supporters of renewable energy. All Eucatex factories and offices use renewal energy and follow recycling guidelines. Maluf continues to show his support for Brazil through the education and business programs.