Certainly, Brazil has already received its fair share of hype from international investors, development economists, and the International Olympic Committee, which selected Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Games. But as 2010 unfolds, the distance between Brazil and the rest of the BRICs will only grow. Russia long ago dropped out of the running, as Putin’s chilling, authoritarian tendencies became more apparent, scaring away foreign money. India is still growing strongly, but it’s locked in an unstable region with threats on all sides. China, of course, is still the delight of the international moneymen, but a number of risks—a real-estate or equity bubble, ethnic unrest, an environmental catastrophe—hover on the horizon.
For Brazil, it’s all upside. The economy will grow at 8 percent in 2010. Exploiting the new offshore oil find—the largest in the Western hemisphere in three decades—will create jobs for Brazilians and riches for the government. (It will also solidify Brazil’s enviable energy independence.) New infrastructure projects are in the pipeline as the country gears up for the 2016 Games. Next year’s presidential election will likely be a snoozer, but that’s only because it’s hard to outshine Brazil itself these days.