Another emerging markets crisis looms as Brazil opts for the politics of stagnation

October 29, 2014

Jeremy Warner – The Telegraph, 10/28/2014

The definition of an emerging market, it was sometimes said – in the days before Goldman Sachs led the stampede of Western money into the developing world – is one from which it is impossible to emerge in a crisis. Investors will know the feeling as they survey the damage to their wealth inflicted by the re-election of the centre left Dilma Rousseff as president of Brazil this week.

In dismay, the Brazilian Ibovespa was down a stomach churning 6.2pc and the Real, in precipitous decline for some years now, fell another 3pc. Investors had hoped for a return to the “Plano Real” and the pro-business agenda of Fernando Henrique Cardoso in the mid-90s to early noughties; instead it’s at least another four years of Workers Party interventionism they have to look forward to.

Brazil is not yet in fully-blown crisis mode, of the type which Latin America seems perennially prone to, but it is self-evidently already on a very slippery slope. Growth has slowed to a virtual standstill, inflation is again climbing towards double digits, and investment has slumped.

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Rousseff says Brazil will recover, avoid credit downgrade

October 29, 2014

Walter Brandimarte – Reuters, 10/28/2014

Newly re-elected President Dilma Rousseff said on Tuesday that the Brazilian economy will recover in her second term and avoid a downgrade of its credit rating.

In television interviews two days after narrowly defeating market darling Aecio Neves, Rousseff repeated her offer to sit down with business leaders to hear their views on the state of the economy and discuss changes in policy.

Earlier on Tuesday, a senior analyst at Moody’s Investors Service said the ratings agency was in no rush to decide whether to cut Brazil’s rating but could act quickly if it determines that Rousseff is not making significant changes in her second term.

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At Brazil auto show, industry wonders if it can get any worse

October 29, 2014

Brad Haynes and Albert Alerigi – Reuters, 10/29/2014

Automakers in Brazil are facing the sharpest slowdown since 1999 and it could be a year or more before things turn the corner.

It is tough to find a sunny 2015 forecast at the Sao Paulo Auto Show this week, where companies accustomed to a market growing by double digits are now considering three straight years of declining sales.

“It looks like the market is in for a difficult time until 2016,” said Koji Kondo, Toyota Motor Corp’s (7203.T) chief executive in Brazil, citing labor costs, rising taxes and infrastructure bottlenecks as a persistent problem. “It’s hard for Brazil’s economic conditions to recover in the short term.”

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How to Fix Brazil’s Broken Economy

October 24, 2014

Joshua Kempf and Mark Kennedy – Foreign Policy, 10/23/2014

The last two decades made obvious a life’s-not-fair fact: Big countries can get away with bad economic policy. Size matters to investors, global corporations, and entrepreneurs because a winning payout is large and can justify the costs of bureaucracy, compliance, and corruption.

China, India, and Brazil attract big investor dollars not because they are business paradises — check out their World Bank’s “Doing Business” rankings. To understand how business leaders think, let’s imagine you built a company with 85 percent market share in more business friendly Estonia. Congrats, they’ll say, those size revenues are in a multinational’s second footnote once removed.

Which brings us to Brazil. Despite its numerical advantages, Brazil has stagnated, and is expected to have just 0.4 percent economic growth this year. What’s wrong? Many analysts have pointed out the obvious: Brazil needs to improve its education, healthcare, and infrastructure. Few economists would disagree, but these are deeply rooted problems with decades-long solutions. Brazilians go to the polls on Sunday to select a president. What reforms can be done during one term to unleash Brazil’s charmed bequest, its size? Here’s the policies we think should be on the agenda.

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What Will Happen Monday, After Brazil Election?

October 24, 2014

Dimitra DeFotis – Barron’s, 10/23/2014

The Brazil equity market has tumbled nearly 8% this week and has slipped into negative territory for the year.

The iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (EWZ) is down more than 8% this week, and has fallen more than 7% year to date. Among Brazil equities, even shares that should be somewhat more immune to Sunday’s election have been hit hard in recent days, including airplane maker Embraer (ERJ) and meat producer BRF (BRFS and BRFS3.Brazil).

The odds are with Brazil’s incumbent Pres. Dilma Rousseff, if ever so slightly, to win Sunday’s runoff presidential election and defeat Aecio Neves, a former governor who is more conservative and the investor favorite. Here’s Societe Generale’s Benoit Anne on anything denominated in Brazil’s currency. He is on the sidelines at this juncture, even if the election outcome is a binary one:

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Market Forecasting Dilma Win In Brazil On Sunday, Turns To Post-Election Scenarios

October 24, 2014

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 10/23/2014

The market is now forecasting that incumbent Dilma Rousseff will be re-elected president in a squeaker on Sunday. Although rival Aécio Neves could pull off an upset if enough of Marina Silva’s voters choose him or opt-out of voting for anyone, his victory would now be seen as a surprise. Downside risks remain in Brazilian equities.

Neves came from polling in third place behind Marina Silva to clobbering her in the first round on Oct. 5, thus guaranteeing him the No. 2 contender spot against Dilma. Polls have suggested that at least 60% of Marina’s voters would chose Neves on Sunday, but he needs a little more than 65% providing the rest of Marina’s voters choose Dilma. So far, that has not been the case as only around 20% of Marina’s voters said they would vote for Dilma on Sunday, meaning the current crop of undecided voters will call the shots.  Recent polls show a technical tie.

It is worth noting that the market’s forecast is not exactly the market’s preference.  At this stage, investors are broadly looking for change in Brasilia, even more so than the average Brazilian.

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The start-up firm which wants to put Brazil to sleep

October 23, 2014

Luana Ferreira – BBC News, 10/22/2014

Brazilian entrepreneur Marcelo von Ancken remembers the dilemma which inspired his new business – he had nowhere to take his afternoon nap. The 51-year-old has a daily ritual at his office in downtown Sao Paulo – after eating lunch he likes to lean back and take a 30-minute siesta.

Mr von Ancken says he finds that having the little sleep gives him a renewed energy for the remainder of the day. Yet one lunchtime back in 2010 he was across town waiting for an afternoon meeting.

Unable to get back to his office, he instead tried, and failed, to take a power nap in his car. An attempt to sleep on a shopping centre bench was equally unsuccessful. The frustration was the spark of inspiration for a new company – a drop-in centre where members of the public can go for a quick sleep.

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