Bolsonaro. Photo: Evaristo SA/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil’s economy contracted in the first quarter of 2019, raising the prospect of another recession in Latin America’s largest country, per the BBC.

Why it matters: This is more bad news for President Jair Bolsonaro, who had promised to revive an economy that has limped out of a damaging recession in 2015–2016.

  • The electorate is impatient. Five months into his presidency, Bolsonaro’s approval ratings have been cut in half, to about 30%.
  • The FT’s Andres Schipani says he’s alienating much of the country with his focus on “culture wars,” and “shrinking back to his original power base of 15-20% of the electorate."

The big question for investors is whether Bolsonaro will deliver much-needed pension reforms.

  • “We think it will come through [later this year], but the difficulty is how far it will be watered down as it gets through Congress,” says the FT’s Michael Stott, speaking on the World Weekly podcast. “Because Bolsonaro, we shouldn’t forget, doesn’t have a majority in Congress” and hasn’t had much success negotiating with them so far.

Go deeper

Updated 47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Tim Scott says Trump "misspoke" when he told Proud Boys to "stand by"

Photo: Bonnie Cash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters on Wednesday that he believes President Trump "misspoke" when he told the far-right "Proud Boys" group to "stand back and stand by" in response to a question about condemning white supremacy at the first presidential debate.

Catch up quick: Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump on Tuesday, "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?" Trump asked who specifically he should condemn, and then responded, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."

Updated 55 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Commission on Presidential Debates wants changes

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Wednesday that it plans to implement changes to rules for the remaining debates, after Tuesday night's head-to-head between Joe Biden and Donald Trump was practically incoherent for most of the night.

What they are saying: "Last night's debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues," the CPD said in a statement.

Trump says he doesn't know who Proud Boys are after telling them to "stand by"

President Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he doesn't know who the Proud Boys are, after saying at the presidential debate last night that the far-right group should "stand back and stand by" in response to a question asking him to condemn white supremacists.

Why it matters: The comments set off outrage and calls for clarification from a number of Republican senators. After being asked several times on Wednesday whether he will condemn white supremacy, Trump responded, "I have always denounced any form — any form of any of that, you have to denounce. But I also — Joe Biden has to say something about antifa."

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