Brazilian markets tumble in political scandal

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Brazilian financial markets plummeted on opening Thursday in the wake of a bombshell report that President Michel Temer approved paying hush money to a corrupt politician.

The real fell 5.46 percent against the dollar to 3.315, down from 3.134 at closing Wednesday, CMA consultants said. This reversed a steady strengthening that reflected gradual renewal of investor confidence in Latin America’s biggest economy after two years of recession.

The Sao Paulo stock market’s Bovespa index crashed more than 10 percent, triggering an automatic suspension of trading for 30 minutes.

Brazilian politics was in crisis after the report in O Globo newspaper that Temer discussed making payments to keep jailed former speaker of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha, from airing secrets about a massive corruption scheme.

Temer quickly denied the report. Early Thursday he cancelled previously announced plans to meet with party leaders.

    <figure><figcaption>The Brazilian real fell sharply against the dollar on May 18, 2017
        <span>Copyright AFP/File VANDERLEI ALMEIDA</span>
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