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By Jaylan Boyle, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO – Further evidence that the Brazilian economy is continuing on an upward trajectory was provided recently with the release by independent consultants Brand Finance of its list of “The 500 Most Valuable Brand Names in the World.” In 2009 there were only six Brazilian brands appearing on this list, this year it has already jumped up to an impressive fifteen.

Bradesco Logo, courtesy of SM Cavalcante/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

The three most valued Brazilian brands are all financial institutions, namely Bradesco, Itaú and Banco do Brazil. Brand Finance in its statement acknowledged that “the South American region registered the highest growth in value of their brands, growing 84 percent (since last year). This is a reflection of solid performance in the region, particularly in the Brazilian banking market.”

Bradesco, in fact, is currently the ninth most valuable banking brand worldwide, according to Brand Finance’s findings, having an estimated monetary value of US$13.2 billion. The bank ranks 42nd overall, up from 75th in 2009, and is Latin America’s most valuable brand.

When speaking to BBC Brazil, director of Brand Finance Brazil, Gilson Nunes, explained that the underlying reasons behind the strong performance of Brazilian and South American brands recently is due mainly to the crippling effect felt by developed nations of the recent economic downturn, which has allowed other nations trade to grow. By contrast, the recession has left Brazil relatively unscathed, which has meant that Brazilian companies have been able to continue to expand domestic markets.

Mr. Nunes further alluded to an increased confidence among investors in the credibility and stability of Brazilian and South American companies, and said that the banking sector in particular has benefitted from the corrections to financial policy that were forced on the government during past upheavals.

Bruna Tenorio at Sao Paulo Winter 2007 Fashion Week, photo by Michell Zappa.

The financial sector is not the only area where Brazilian brands can be seen to be making a significant impact on the world stage. Although less measurable, much press has recently been devoted to the increased visibility of the Brazilian fashion industry, particularly the spectacular rise of the annual Sao Paulo Fashion Week, which now ranks among the world’s premier fashion events, alongside New York, Milan, London, and Paris.

Brazilian labels are experiencing increased interest from the Asian and Western European markets, and according to the president of ApexBrasil, the country’s investment promotion agency, local manufacturers are to begin heavily targeting the Russian market, which is seen as increasingly lucrative.

Some might even point to Madonna’s recent investment in Brazilian beverage Vita Coco, in which she is joined by Demi Moore and Matthew McConaughey, as further proof that Brazilian brands and culture are increasingly visible.

While however there is certainly cause for optimism among Brazil’s business community, the findings of Brand Finance put the recent upbeat news in stark perspective: American firms continue to dominate the world’s most lucrative brands, with the top four being Wal Mart, Google, Coca Cola and Microsoft.

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