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Brazil’s credit rating sits barely above the junk-bond line after a downgrade by Standard & Poor’s, underscoring the country’s dramatic fall from the heights of emerging-market superstardom just a few short years ago.

The ratings agency said it was responding partly to the “subdued outlook” for economic growth over the next two years, as well as what it calls “fiscal slippage” and the government’s “constrained ability to adjust policy” in advance of a tough presidential election this fall. Which, in plainer English, means no spending cuts or tax increases can be expected from a harried government hanging on to power by its fingernails.

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