YouTube said Thursday it will disable user comments on a broad array of videos featuring children to thwart “predatory behavior” after revelations about a glitch exploited for sharing of child pornography.
The Google-owned video sharing service announced further steps to crack down on inappropriate comments a week after an investigation showing how comments and connections on child porn were being displayed alongside innocuous videos.
“We recognize that comments are a core part of the YouTube experience and how you connect with and grow your audience,” YouTube said in a posted message to creators.
“At the same time, the important steps we’re sharing today are critical for keeping young people safe.”
YouTube said that during the past week it has suspended comments on tens of millions of videos to prevent users from exploiting of the software glitch for nefarious purposes.
“These efforts are focused on videos featuring young minors and we will continue to identify videos at risk over the next few months,” YouTube said.
“Over the next few months, we will be broadening this action to suspend comments on videos featuring young minors and videos featuring older minors that could be at risk of attracting predatory behavior.”
A small number of video creators will be allowed to keep comments enabled, but will be required to carefully moderate commentary and to deploy software tools provided by YouTube, according to Google.
YouTube accelerated the release of an improved “classifier” that it said will detect and remove twice the number of policy-breaking comments by individuals.
A YouTube creator last week revealed what he called a “wormhole” that allowed comments and connections on child porn alongside videos.
Shortly thereafter, YouTube deleted many comments and blocked some accounts and channels showing inappropriate comments.
Matt Watson, a YouTube creator with some 26,000 subscribers, revealed the workings of what he termed a “wormhole” into a pedophile ring that allowed users to trade social media contacts and links to child porn in YouTube comments.
The post by Watson sparked a series of news reports and boycotts of YouTube ads from major firms.
The incident raised fears of a fresh “brand safety” crisis for YouTube, which lost advertisers last year following revelations that messages appeared on channels promoting conspiracy theories, white nationalism and other objectionable content.
Online crafts retailer Etsy Inc will go green by offsetting planet-warming carbon emissions from its shipping activities, the U.S. company said Wednesday, joining a host of companies making public moves to battle climate change.
Etsy will buy clean energy certificates supporting tree conservation in the United States, wind and solar power in India and clean automotive technology, it said.
The online marketplace for buying and selling handmade and vintage goods said its initiative is the first time a global e-commerce company has made such a move.
“Fast, free shipping ultimately comes at a cost to our planet,” wrote Josh Silverman, chief executive officer of the New York-based company in a blog on the company’s website.
The certificates are a way for companies to offset the amount of carbon dioxide they produce by paying for projects that support clean development.
The 13-year-old Etsy said its greenhouse gas emissions from shipping in 2018 totaled about 135,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, similar to those of 29,000 cars in a year.
About 55,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent are released each day from the delivery of all packages ordered from online retailers in the United States alone, it said.
Last month, at the U.S. Super Bowl championship game, giant beer maker Budweiser helped purchase clean energy certificates to offset greenhouse gas emissions linked to fans’ travel and the host city of Atlanta.
More than 100 U.S. companies have committed to setting emission-reduction targets that seek to limit rising temperature to 2 degrees Celsius as part of a United Nations-backed initiative, said Sabrina Helm, who heads the Consumers, Environment & Sustainability Initiative, a research group at the University of Arizona.
Online retailers have largely been absent from those efforts, and Etsy’s move sends a “very important signal,” she said.
“A lot of online retailers are not particularly transparent in what they do in terms of sustainability,” she told Reuters.
Last week, online retail giant Amazon.com Inc said it planned to make its carbon footprint public for the first time this year.
Thailand’s legislature has passed a cybersecurity bill that would allow authorities access to people’s personal information without a court order.
The Cybersecurity Act addresses computer hacking crimes, but activists fear it will allow the government sweeping access to people’s personal information.
The National Legislative Assembly, which passed the bill in its final reading Thursday by a vote of 133-0, was appointed by the junta that came to power after a 2014 coup. It becomes law when published in the Royal Gazette.
The cybersecurity bill allows state officials to seize, search, infiltrate, and make copies of computers, computer systems and information in computers without a court warrant if an appointed committee sees it as a high-level security threat, and relevant courts can later be informed of such actions.
The top U.S. trade official said Wednesday that a new trade agreement with China is not yet close to being completed. State Department correspondent Nike Ching reports from Washington on the latest in the talks and how U.S. concerns over high-tech issues remain a key point of friction. VOA Mandarin reporter Yihua Lee contributes.
As Walmart moves to phase out its familiar blue-vested “greeters” at 1,000 stores nationwide, disabled workers who fill many of those jobs say they’re being ill-treated by a chain that styles itself as community-minded and inclusive.
Walmart told greeters around the country last week that their positions would be eliminated on April 26 in favor of an expanded, more physically demanding “customer host” role. To qualify, they will need to be able to lift 25-pound (11-kilogram) packages, climb ladders and stand for long periods.
That came as a heavy blow to greeters with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other physical disabilities. For them, a job at Walmart has provided needed income, served as a source of pride and offered a connection to the community.
Now Walmart, America’s largest private employer, is facing a backlash as customers rally around some of the chain’s most highly visible employees.
Walmart says it is striving to place greeters in other jobs at the company, but workers with disabilities are worried.
Donny Fagnano, 56, who has worked at Walmart for more than 21 years, said he cried when a manager at the store in Lewisburg, Pa., called him into the office last week and told him his job was going away.
“I like working,” he said. “It’s better than sitting at home.”
Fagnano, who has spina bifida, said he was offered a severance package. He hopes to stay on at Walmart and clean bathrooms instead.
Walmart greeters have been around for decades, allowing the retail giant to put a friendly face at the front of its stores. Then, in 2016, Walmart began replacing greeters with hosts, adding responsibilities that include helping with returns, checking receipts to deter shoplifters and keeping the front of the store clean. Walmart and other chains have been redefining roles at stores as they compete with Amazon.
The effect of the greeter phase-out on disabled and elderly employees — who have traditionally gravitated toward the role as one they were well-suited to doing — largely escaped public notice until last week, when Walmart launched a second round of cuts.
As word spread, first on social media and then in local and national news outlets, outraged customers began calling Walmart to complain. Tens of thousands of people signed petitions. Facebook groups sprang up with names like “Team Adam” and “Save Lesley.” A second-grade class in California wrote letters to Walmart’s CEO on behalf of Adam Catlin, a disabled greeter in Pennsylvania whose mother had written an impassioned Facebook post about his plight. Walmart said it has offered another job to Catlin.
In Galena, Ill., hundreds of customers plan to attend an “appreciation parade” for Ashley Powell on her last day of work as a greeter.
“I love it, and I think I’ve touched a lot of people,” said Powell, 34, who has an intellectual disability.
‘What am I going to do?’
In Vancouver, Wash., John Combs, 42, who has cerebral palsy, was devastated and then angered by his impending job loss. It had taken his family five years to find him a job he could do, and he loved the work, coming up with nicknames for all his co-workers.
“What am I going to do — just sit here on my butt all day in this house? That’s all I’m going to do?” Combs asked his sister and guardian, Rachel Wasser. “I do my job. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Wasser urged the retailer to “give these people a fair shake. … If you want to make your actions match your words, do it. Don’t be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
With the U.S. unemployment rate for disabled people more than twice that for workers without disabilities, Walmart has long been seen as a destination for people like Combs. Advocacy groups worry the company is backsliding.
“It’s the messaging that concerns me,” said Gabrielle Sedor, chief operations officer at ANCOR, a trade group representing service providers. “Given that Walmart is such an international leader in the retail space, I’m concerned this decision might suggest to some people that the bottom line of the company is more important to the company than inclusive communities. We don’t think those two are mutually exclusive.”
The greeter issue has already prompted at least three complaints to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as a federal lawsuit in Utah alleging discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under the federal law, employers must provide “reasonable” accommodations to workers with disabilities.
Walmart did not disclose how many disabled greeters could lose their jobs. The company said that after it made the change at more than 1,000 stores in 2016, 80 percent to 85 percent of all affected greeters found other roles at Walmart. It did not reveal how many of them were disabled.
This time, Walmart initially told greeters they would have 60 days to land other jobs at the company. Amid the uproar, the company has extended the deadline indefinitely for greeters with disabilities.
“We recognize that our associates with physical disabilities face a unique situation,” Walmart spokesman Justin Rushing said in a statement. The extra time, he said, will give Walmart a chance to explore how to accommodate such employees.
Walmart said it has already made offers to some greeters, including those with physical disabilities, and expects to continue doing so in the coming weeks.
But some workers say they have been tacitly discouraged from applying for other jobs.
Mitchell Hartzell, 31, a full-time Walmart greeter in Hazel Green, Ala., said his manager told him “they pretty much didn’t have anything in that store for me to do” after his job winds down in April. He said he persisted, approaching several assistant managers to ask about openings, and found out about a vacant position at self-checkout. But it had already been promised to a greeter who doesn’t use a wheelchair, he said.
“It seems like they don’t want us anymore,” said Hartzell, who has cerebral palsy.
Jay Melton, 40, who has worked as a greeter in Marion, N.C., for nearly 17 years, loves church, Tar Heels basketball and Walmart. His sister-in-law, Jamie Melton, said the job is what gets him out of bed.
“He doesn’t have a lot of things he does himself that bring him joy,” she said. Addressing Walmart, Melton added: “When you cut a huge population of people out, and you have written a policy that declares they are no longer capable of doing what they have been doing, that is discrimination.”
Women around the world are granted only three-quarters of the legal rights enjoyed by men, often preventing them from getting jobs or opening businesses, the World Bank said in study published Wednesday.
“If women have equal opportunities to reach their full potential, the world would not only be fairer, it would be more prosperous as well,” Kristalina Georgieva, the bank’s interim president, said in a statement.
While reforms in many countries are a step in the right direction, “2.7 billion women are still legally barred from having the same choice of jobs as men,” the statement said.
The study included an index measuring gender disparities that was derived from data collected over a decade from 187 countries and using eight indicators to evaluate the balance of rights afforded to men and women.
The report showed progress over the past 10 years, with the index rising to 75 from 70, out of a possible 100, as 131 countries have agreed to enact 274 reforms, adopting laws or regulations allowing greater inclusion of women.
Among the improvements, 35 countries have proposed laws against sexual harassment in the workplace, granting protections to an additional 2 billion women, while 22 nations have abolished restrictions that kept women out of certain industrial sectors.
Six perfect scores
Six nations — Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden — scored a 100, “meaning they give women and men equal legal rights in the measured areas,” the World Bank said.
A decade ago, no economy had achieved a perfect score.
On the other hand, too many women still face discriminatory laws or regulations at every stage of their professional lives: 56 nations made no improvement over the last decade.
South Asia saw the greatest progress, although it still achieved a relatively low score of 58.36. It was followed by Southeast Asia and the Pacific, at 70.73 and 64.80, respectively.
Latin America and the Caribbean recorded the second-highest scores among emerging and developing economies at 79.09.
Conversely, the Middle East and North Africa posted the lowest score for gender equality at 47.37. The World Bank nevertheless pointed to encouraging changes, such as the introduction of laws against domestic violence, in particular in Algeria and Lebanon.
The fast-growing, Chinese-owned video sharing network TikTok agreed to pay a $5.7 million fine to U.S. authorities to settle charges that it illegally collected personal information from children, officials said Wednesday.
The Federal Trade Commission said the penalty for the social network, which had been known as Musical.ly, was the largest ever in a children’s privacy investigation.
The social network, which has been surging in popularity with young smartphone users and taking over from rivals like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, failed to obtain parental consent from its underage users as required by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, FTC officials said.
The operators of TikTok “knew many children were using the app, but they still failed to seek parental consent before collecting names, email addresses, and other personal information from users under the age of 13,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons.
No tolerance for lawbreakers
“This record penalty should be a reminder to all online services and websites that target children: We take enforcement of COPPA very seriously, and we will not tolerate companies that flagrantly ignore the law.”
TikTok claimed 500 million users worldwide last year, making it one of the most popular worldwide apps.
Owned by China’s ByteDance, it expanded its reach in the U.S. with the merger with Musical.ly.
Teens have been flocking to the service, which allows them to create and share videos of 15 seconds.
According to the FTC, the company required users to provide an email address, phone number, username, first and last name, a short biography, and a profile picture.
The consumer protection regulator said 65 million accounts have been registered in the United States.
Officials said the company knew that many of its users were under 13 and should have taken greater precautions.
“In our view, these practices reflected the company’s willingness to pursue growth even at the expense of endangering children,” said a statement from FTC Commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter.
“The agency secured a record-setting civil penalty and deletion of ill-gotten data, as well as other remedies to stop this egregious conduct.”
TikTok has faced criticism around the world for featuring sexually suggestive content inappropriate for children.
TikTok said in a statement it would create a “separate app experience” for younger users with additional privacy protections as part of its agreement with regulators.
“It’s our priority to create a safe and welcoming experience for all of our users, and as we developed the global TikTok platform, we’ve been committed to creating measures to further protect our user community — including tools for parents to protect their teens and for users to enable additional privacy settings,” the statement said.
The Federal Reserve will stop shrinking its $4 trillion balance sheet later this year, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday, ending a process that investors say works at cross-purposes with the Fed’s current pause on interest rate hikes.
“We’ve worked out, I think, the framework of a plan that we hope to be able to announce soon that will light the way all the way to the end of balance sheet normalization,” Powell told members of the House Financial Services Committee in what were his most detailed remarks to date on the subject.
“We’re going to be in a position … to stop runoff later this year,” he said, adding that doing so would leave the balance sheet at about 16 percent or 17 percent of GDP, up from about 6 percent before the financial crisis about a decade ago.
The U.S. gross domestic product is currently about $20 trillion, suggesting the Fed’s balance sheet would be between $3.2 trillion and $3.4 trillion.
The Fed has been trimming its balance sheet — bulked up by trillions of dollars of bond-buying during the post-crisis years to help keep interest rates low and bolster the economy — by as much as $50 billion a month since October 2017. As recently as a few months ago it had expected to keep shrinking its portfolio for another couple of years.
But in a series of meetings that began in November, the Fed has been devising a new approach. With rising demand for currency around the world, and from U.S. banks for reserves held at the central bank, Fed policymakers now believe a big balance sheet is necessary just to ensure it has proper control over the short-term interest rates it sets to manage the economy.
In addition, Fed policymakers now say balance sheet policy should take financial and economic conditions into account.
Questions about the plan remain, including whether the Fed will adjust the maturities of its Treasury portfolio, and how it will go about shedding the mortgage-backed securities (MBS) it accumulated during its asset-buying days.
Powell said the Fed still has a bunch of decisions ahead of it.
“The one on MBS sales is really closer to the back of the line — really, we have to decide about the maturity composition, things like that, and we’ll be working through that in a very careful way,” Powell said. “Markets are sensitive to this.”
Powell’s remarks on the balance sheet came toward the end of more than two hours of testimony before the Democrat-led House panel that includes several new members, including New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
But the Green New Deal advocate and Bronx populist asked no questions during the debate, and much of what Powell said on Wednesday repeated comments made Tuesday to the Republican-controlled Senate Banking Committee, including that the economy is on solid ground and the Fed would be patient on raising rates.
Inflation goal unchanged
Powell was asked, as he was in the Senate, about the Fed’s plan to rethink its policy framework this year. He assured lawmakers that the Fed is merely trying to refine its approach so it can meet its current 2 percent inflation goal.
“We are not looking at a higher inflation target, full stop,” he said.
Powell also repeated his warnings against a failure by Congress to raise the debt ceiling, saying there would be “bad consequences” should the United States default on its debt payments.
Powell by law appears two times a year before Congress to brief members of the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee on monetary policy and the state of the economy.
Silicon Valley billionaire Elon Musk changed his Twitter display name to “Elon Tusk” in another late-night flurry of tweets on Wednesday, which also promised news from his electric carmaker Tesla Inc later this week.
In a series of tweets to his 25 million followers following charges from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this week, Musk accused the regulator of failing to read Tesla’s annual reports and said its oversight was “broken”.
On Wednesday, he changed his display name and added an elephant tag.
Social media platforms have featured a number of memes involving wordplay around Musk’s name this week.
He also promised Tesla would have “news” at 2 p.m. California time on Thursday. The company, deep in debt as it ramps up production of its popular Model 3 sedan, is due to repay a $920 million convertible bond a day later.
Musk had promised last year to have his public statements vetted by the company’s board, as part of a settlement with the SEC that headed off demands for him to resign as Tesla CEO.
Tesla did not immediately respond to request for comment.your ad here
Національний банк України зберігає стабільність на валютному ринку. За результатами торгів 27 лютого регулятор встановив на останній день зими курс 26 гривень 99 копійок за долар, це на одну копійку більше, ніж днем раніше.
На початку лютого гривня вже зміцнювалася щодо долара до літніх рівнів 2018 року. Свого пікового значення 28 гривень 39 копійок впродовж останнього року долар сягнув 30 листопада 2018 року. Відтоді американська валюта втратила майже півтори гривні.
Національний банк пояснює тренд на зміцнення гривні, зокрема, стабільними надходженнями експортної виручки.
Україна має треті за обсягом запаси газу в Європі, повідомив «Нафтогаз України» у своїй презентації, наданій у відповідь на запит Радіо Свобода.
Компанія оцінює її на рівні 590 мільярдів кубометрів. На другому місці за обсягом запасів газу йдуть Нідерланди (696 мільярдів), на першому – Норвегія (1,763 трильйона). Про Росію «Нафтогаз» не згадує.
При цьому найбільша компанія з видобування газу в Україні – «Укргазвидобування» – у 2018 році отримала лише один спецдозвіл на розвідку нових ділянок та подальше видобування газу. У 2014 році таких спецдозволів було дев’ять, у 2015 – чотири, у 2016 – 13, у 2017 – чотири.
«Один мільярд кубометрів не видобуто через невидачу ліцензій», – заявили в «Нафтогазі».
Компанія вказує, що природне падіння видобутку через виснаження свердловин становить 1-1,2 мільярда кубометрів на рік.
Водночас обсяги буріння зросли зі 173 тисяч кубометрів у 2015 році до 313 тисяч у 2018.
Обсяг видобутку газу в Україні державними й приватними компаніями у 2018 досяг 21 мільярда кубометрів. Водночас обсяг споживання газу більший – 32,3 мільярда.
«Нафтогаз» вважає, що для збільшення видобутку газу частка інвестицій в його ціні має зрости у 8,5 разів.
У компанії стверджують, що із кожного проданого кубометра за поточною ціною – 8,55 грн – на інвестиції йде 34 копійки. «Нафтогаз» підрахував, що частка інвестицій у ціні газу має складати 2,1 грн, якщо потрібно утримати видобуток газу, і 2,9 грн – якщо потрібно його нарощувати.
By : ProdusE -
Для збільшення видобутку газу частка інвестицій в його ціні має зрости у 8,5 разів, йдеться в презентації «Нафтогаз України», наданій у відповідь на запит Радіо Свобода.
У компанії стверджують, що із кожного проданого кубометра за поточною ціною – 8,55 грн – на інвестиції йде 34 копійки. Там підрахували, що частка інвестицій у ціні газу має складати 2,1 грн, якщо потрібно утримати видобуток газу, і 2,9 грн – якщо потрібно його нарощувати.
«Держава забирає 5,91 грн з 8,55 грн на кожному проданому кубометрі», – розповіли в «Нафтогазі».
Ще 2 гривні 30 копійок в тарифі формуються за рахунок тарифів облгазів на розподіл та постачання газу (з ПДВ), операційних витрат на видобуток та транспортування, недоотриманих коштів від споживачів та покриття збитків від імпорту газу для ПСО, тобто компаній, на які покладені спеціальні обов’язки.
Згідно з презентацією, найбільша компанія з видобування газу в Україні – «Укргазвидобування» – має вкладати 29 мільярдів гривень на рік, щоб принаймні зберігати поточний рівень видобутку (15,5 мільярда кубометрів у 2018 році).
«Нафтогаз» вважає ринковою ціною газу 10 гривень 65 копійок за кубометр. Це, за підрахунками компанії, дозволило б «Укргазвидобуванню» упродовж п’яти років збільшити видобуток до 20 мільярдів кубометрів.
Обсяг видобутку газу в Україні державними й приватними компаніями у 2018 досяг 21 мільярда кубометрів. Водночас обсяг споживання газу більший – 32,3 мільярда.
Boeing on Wednesday unveiled an unmanned, fighter-like jet developed in Australia and designed to fly alongside crewed aircraft in combat for a fraction of the cost.
The U.S. manufacturer hopes to sell the multi-role aircraft, which is 38 feet long (11.6 meters) and has a 2,000 nautical mile (3,704-kilometer) range, to customers around the world, modifying it as requested.
It is Australia’s first domestically developed combat aircraft in decades and Boeing’s biggest investment in unmanned systems outside the United States, although the company declined to specify the dollar amount.
Defense contractors are investing increasingly in autonomous technology as militaries around the world look for a cheaper and safer way to maximize their resources.
Boeing rivals like Lockheed Martin and Kratos Defense and Security Solutions are also investing in such aircraft.
Four to six of the new aircraft, called the Boeing Airpower Teaming System, can fly alongside a F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, said Shane Arnott, director of Boeing research and prototype arm Phantom Works International.
“To bring that extra component and the advantage of unmanned capability, you can accept a higher level of risk,” he said.
The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies in the United States said last year that the U.S. Air Force should explore pairing crewed and uncrewed aircraft to expand its fleet and complement a limited number of “exquisite, expensive, but highly potent fifth-generation aircraft” like the F-35.
“Human performance factors are a major driver behind current aerial combat practices,” the policy paper said. “Humans can only pull a certain number of Gs, fly for a certain number of hours, or process a certain amount of information at a given time.”
In addition to performing like a fighter jet, other roles for the Boeing system early warning, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance alongside aircraft like the P-8 Poseidon and E-7 Wedgetail, said Kristin Robertson, vice president and general manager of Boeing Autonomous Systems.
”It is operationally very flexible, modular, multi-mission,” she said. “It is a very disruptive price point. Fighter-like capability at a fraction of the cost.”
Robertson declined to comment on the cost, saying that it would depend on the configuration chosen by individual customers.
The jet is powered by a derivative of a commercially available engine, uses standard runways for take-off and landing, and can be modified for carrier operations at sea, Robertson said. She declined to specify whether it could reach supersonic speeds, common for modern fighter aircraft.
Its first flight is expected in 2020, with Boeing and the Australian government producing a concept demonstrator to pave the way for full production.
Australia, a staunch U.S. ally, is home to Boeing’s largest footprint outside the United States and has vast airspace with relatively low traffic for flight testing.
The Boeing Airpower Teaming System will be manufactured in
Australia, but production lines could be set up in other countries depending on sales, Arnott said.
The United States, which has the world’s biggest military budget, would be among the natural customers for the product.
The U.S. Air Force 2030 project foresees the Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighter working together with stealthy combat drones, called the “Loyal Wingman” concept, said Derrick Maple, principal analyst for unmanned systems at IHS Markit.
“The U.S. has more specific plans for the wingman concept, but Western Europe will likely develop their requirements in parallel, to abate the capabilities of China and the Russian Federation and other potential threats,” he said.
Robertson declined to name potential customers and would not comment on potential stealth properties, but said the aircraft had the potential to sell globally.
“We didn’t design this as a point solution but a very flexible solution that we could outfit with payloads, sensors, different mission sets to complement whatever their fleet is,” she said. “Don’t think of it as a specific product that is tailored to do only one mission.”
Brazil’s Senate confirmed Roberto Campos Neto as central bank governor on Tuesday, after he stressed that controlling inflation and reining in public spending were critical to supporting economic growth.
Much work must still be done to secure Brazil’s economic recovery, Campos Neto told the Senate’s economic committee at his confirmation hearing.
He indicated there would be little change, if any, to monetary policy, echoing the central bank’s current stance that decisions are based on “caution, serenity and perseverance.”
The Senate approved Campos Neto by a vote of 55 in favor to six opposed, following unanimous confirmation by the economic committee.
He will officially assume the role with the signature of President Jair Bolsonaro, likely later this week.
Campos Neto is a former senior executive at Banco Santander Brasil SA. A University of California-trained economist, he has spent his career in banking and market trading and is acutely aware of the impact central bank policy decisions and communications have on markets, analysts say.
In his testimony Tuesday, Campos Neto said the country must keep opening up capital markets to foreign and domestic investors, while avoiding inflationary stimulus or state intervention.
His rhetoric largely mirrored that of several advisers to President Jair Bolsonaro, most of whom are pushing for an overhaul of the nation’s costly public pension system and a broad series of privatizations.
Campos Neto predicted Brazil’s economy would perform better this year than last, thanks in part to reforms the government is promoting.
Brazilian interest rates have been held at a record low 6.50 percent but economic growth has slowed in recent months, weakening what was already a sluggish recovery from the 2015-16 recession.
“While his market knowledge could make him adopt a more forceful stance at some point, the need to build credibility, particularly at the beginning of his tenure, would favor prudence,” said a U.S.-based source with first-hand experience of Brazilian markets.
Campos Neto refused to discuss whether Brazil should sell any of its $375 billion reserves, saying it was something that would require more analysis.
International FX reserves serve as an insurance policy in times of crisis, he said.
“The price of that insurance is much lower now,” he said, noting the narrowing of the spread between U.S. and Brazilian interest rates to less than 400 basis points from over 1,200 bps a couple of years ago.
When it comes to dining out, the noisiness of a restaurant can ruin an otherwise good meal. But a crowdsourcing app is helping diners choose where to eat based on noise levels. Tina Trinh reports.