Brazil Central Bank puts inflation at center of concerns

March 14, 2013

Tom Murphy & Rogerio Jelmayer – Fox Business/Dow Jones Newswires, 02/14/2013

The central bank revealed much of its thinking in minutes released Thursday from its March 6 monetary-policy meeting. At the meeting, the central bank held its Selic base interest rate steady at an all-time low of 7.25%. But a brief statement after the meeting hinted at possible data-based interest rate hikes in the near term.

The minutes of the meeting showed a striking level of concern for continued inflationary pressures.

The minutes stated that Brazil’s inflation problem can no longer be viewed “as a temporary condition.” The minutes said that inflation has proven resilient and may have reached “a new, and higher plateau.”

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Brazil central bank cuts growth lower inflation

December 20, 2012

Silvio Cascione, Luciana Otoni – Reuters, 12/20/2012

Brazil’s central bank acknowledged on Thursday that the economy will grow very little in 2012 and reinforced the case for a long period of low interest rates by forecasting that inflation should ease next year.

The bank lowered its 2012 economic growth forecast to 1.0 percent from 1.6 percent previously, matching market estimates, according to its latest quarterly inflation report.

The bank also lowered its 2013 inflation forecast to 4.8 percent from 4.9 percent previously, contrasting with market forecasts projecting inflation at 5.42 percent.

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Brazil swap rates drop on Rousseff comment; real little changed

December 12, 2012

Blake Schmidt – Bloomberg, 12/12/12

Brazil’s swap rates fell for the first time in four days as comments from President Dilma Rousseff encouraged speculation that policy makers will keep borrowing costs at record lows through the first half of 2013.

Interest rates are on track to converge with international levels, Rousseff said in a meeting with business leaders in Paris, adding that Brazil needs to reduce the cost of capital.

Swap rates on the contract due in January 2016 decreased six basis points, or 0.06 percentage point, to 8.16 percent at 1:29 p.m. in Sao Paulo. The real was little changed at 2.0805 after closing on Dec. 7 at 2.0751, the strongest since Nov. 14.

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Brazil’s central bank will raise rates next year, if needed – source

September 18, 2012

Luciana Magalhaes – The Wall Street Journal, 09/18/2012

Brazil’s central bank doesn’t rule out raising its baseline interest rate in 2013 if necessary, to keep inflation within its target range, a person close to the central bank said Tuesday.

“We have an inflation targeting policy. If it becomes necessary, the central bank will raise rates in 2013 to keep the inflation in the target,” said the person, who asked not to be named.

While Brazil’s central bank has most recently been cutting interest rates, many market players are betting that the central bank will have to raise rates in 2013 to tame inflation. But top finance ministry officials have sought to play down any need for rate hikes next year.

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The China Temptation

August 10, 2012

Jaime Daremblum – Hudson Institute, 8/10/2012

What a difference a year makes.

In August 2011, as the European debt crisis raised fears of another international financial panic, Brazilian officials were bragging about their country’s impressive economic strength and record-low unemployment rate. “This is the second time that a crisis affects the world,” said President Dilma Rousseff, “and it is the second time that Brazil doesn’t shake.” The perception of Brazil as a booming economy that was insulated from the global turmoil had prompted an influx of foreign businessmen hoping to get rich (or richer). “If the rest of the world is cratering,” a Rio-based American banker told the New York Times, “this is a good place to be.”

In August 2012, amid a slowdown in China and other developing countries, Brazil is teetering on the brink of recession, largely because of an overvalued currency and sluggish exports. Its economy barely grew at all (0.2 percent) in the first quarter of this year, and its persistent weaknesses have suddenly been magnified. Even the Brazilian services sector, which had been buoying the economy, is now slumping: Its activity index (as measured by the financial giant HSBC) hit a three-year low in July. As for Brazilian industrial production (approximately one-third of the national economy), it has “failed to respond to government stimulus measures and a series of aggressive interest rate cuts,” notes the Wall Street Journal. Writing in the Miami Herald last week, Latin America expert Susan Kaufman Purcell declared that “Brazil’s economic future does not look nearly as bright as its recent past.” Indeed, while unemployment remains relatively low (for now), Brazil is no longer seen as an unstoppable economic powerhouse.

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Brazil swap rates at highest in almost week on faster inflation

August 7, 2012

Josue Leonel, Gabrielle Coppola – Bloomberg Business Week, 08/06/2012

Brazilian swap rates rose to the highest level in almost a week as a report showed inflation is picking up, reducing speculation the central bank will sustain the pace of cuts in borrowing costs.

Swap rates on the contract due in January 2014 increased one basis point, or 0.01 percentage point, 7.79 percent today in Sao Paulo, the highest level on a closing basis since July 31. The real fell 0.1 percent to 2.0311 per U.S. dollar.

Inflation as measured by the IGP-DI index accelerated in July to 1.52 percent from 0.69 percent in the prior month, the Getulio Vargas Foundation reported today. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey was for 1.46 percent inflation.

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Brazil’s Tombini proposes new post to improve transparency

June 1, 2012

Adriana Brasileiro and Andre SolianiBloomberg, 05/31/2012

Brazil’s central bank created a post on its board to improve transparency and communications two weeks after President Alexandre Tombini said it’s increasingly important for central banks to provide “forward guidance” to the market.

Tombini recommended that President Dilma Rousseff approve Luiz Edson Feltrim, currently executive-secretary, as the institution’s special affairs director, according to an e-mailed statement from the central bank yesterday. In a speech on May 10 in Rio de Janeiro, Tombini said transparency is key for the central bank given the “exceptionally complex moment for the global economy.”

“There is an ongoing trend in the world for more transparency at central banks,” Roberto Padovani, chief economist at Votorantim Ctvm Ltda, said in a phone interview yesterday. “Communication is becoming an important tool for monetary policy.”

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Mantega: Brazil prepared for worsening international conditions

May 23, 2012

Gerald Jeffris – The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires, 05/22/2012

BRASILIA (Dow Jones)–Brazil’s economy remains prepared to weather the effects of difficult international conditions, though local growth could slip if recent stimulus efforts aren’t maintained, Finance Minister Guido Mantega said Tuesday.

Speaking at a hearing of the Brazilian Senate’s economic affairs committee, Mantega said he believed the Brazilian economy would grow more than the 2.7% expansion seen in 2011 with the assistance of recent stimulus measures and a still strong domestic consumer market.

“Brazil is more prepared for a crisis than it was in 2008,” he said, adding the country counted on ample foreign reserves and a solid fiscal situation to help maintain economic stability.

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Brazil moves to boost car industry

May 22, 2012

Samantha Pearson – The Financial Times, 05/22/2012

Brazil has launched a stimulus package worth more than $10bn to revive its struggling automotive industry and help return the stagnating economy to its former impressive levels of growth.

Guido Mantega, the country’s finance minister, announced late on Monday a reduction in the IPI industrial tax on vehicles and IOF tax for individual borrowers, as well as easier terms for car financing.

BNDES, Brazil’s state development bank, also agreed to lower interest rates for some machinery and industrial equipment.

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Brazil rates to end 2012 at record lows – poll

May 7, 2012

Silvio Cascione – Reuters, 05/07/2012

Brazilian policymakers will likely slash interest rates to record lows after changing rules for savings accounts, a weekly central bank survey of economists showed on Monday.

The country’s benchmark interest rate is expected to end this year at 8.5 percent, the so-called Focus survey showed, down from last week’s 9-percent forecast.

Cutting one of the world’s highest interest rates to single-digit levels is one of the top priorities for President Dilma Rousseff. A successful downshift on rates would be a major political achievement and would help address the high costs and economic distortions that have led Brazil’s economy to stagnate unexpectedly in the past year.

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