The dramatic surge in Brazilian markets is not the only factor lifting animal spirits among senior business leaders and financiers in São Paulo this week. The prospect of right-wing congressman Jair Bolsonaro winning the presidency and implementing a liberalizing economic program has kindled hopes among many that decades of Brazilian statist policies are about to be reversed.
“The first thing you have to do is take a deep breath,” comments one senior banker of Bolsonaro’s strong showing in last Sunday’s first-round presidential vote, in which the former army captain, even though he has praised Brazil’s military dictatorship, captured 46 percent of the vote. “He was not my first choice,” the banker says, “but certainly a lot of my clients are pleased.”
Paulo Guedes, Bolsonaro’s economic adviser, a University of Chicago–educated investment banker, is reportedly seeking other high-flying financiers to join the transition team should Bolsonaro beat Fernando Haddad of the leftist Workers’ Party in an Oct. 28 runoff vote