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Temer wants major pension reform despite street protests

Staff Writer |
Brazil's president Michel Temer and senior lawmakers were unwavering in their support for a major pension reform despite nationwide protests.

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Moody's Investors Service added a vote of confidence in the government, citing the ongoing progress of fiscal reforms as a reason for revising its outlook for Brazil's sovereign credit rating to “stable” from “negative.”

Brazil's currency and benchmark stock index both rose around 2.0% on Wednesday, leading a rally in Latin American assets after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled a gradual pace for interest rate rises.

New developments underscored that the political momentum is still in President Temer's favor as he pushes ahead with an unpopular austerity agenda that has drawn opposition into the streets but retained the support of congressional leaders.

The public backing from legislative allies was particularly important after Brazil's top public prosecutor moved to target dozens of senior politicians as part of a corruption probe centered on kickbacks at state oil company Petrobras.

The impact of a strike by public transportation workers was lighter than anticipated in Rio de Janeiro and other smaller cities.

Still, an afternoon march drew tens of thousands to a midtown thoroughfare in Sao Paulo, highlighting well organized union resistance to limiting pension benefits and raising the retirement age as the government has proposed.

A smaller demonstration in Rio was marked by clashes between masked protestors and police, who used tear gas to control the crowd.

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