Joe Leahy – Financial Times, 06/08/2015
South America’s largest economy faces a difficult balancing act to avoid a potentially disastrous spiral of economic contraction as it seeks to control inflation.
Brazil’s planning minister Nelson Barbosa warned that he expected only a very gradual recovery from this year’s recession, in contrast with previous downturns during the past decade when the country immediately bounced back with rapid growth.
However, Mr Barbosa added that growth should still be enough for Brazil to avoid slipping into a situation in which interest rate increases to control inflation combined with an austerity programme to reduce the budget deficit only deepened the recession.
Brazil’s economic growth depends more on the approval of austerity measures needed to rebuild investor confidence than on a weaker currency, Finance Minister Joaquim Levy told O Globo newspaper.
One day after the Brazilian real tumbled to its weakest level in more than 10 years, Levy downplayed the notion that a weak currency is the key to making Latin America’s largest economy grow again.
“The idea that a weaker currency is the big solution to Brazil is not correct, despite its popularity in some circles,” he said in an interview published on Tuesday.
Filipe Pacheco – Bloomberg, 11/10/2014
Brazil’s real rose for a second day on speculation President Dilma Rousseff will appoint an economic team that will revive growth and on wagers the U.S. Federal Reserve will avoid an early increase in interest rates.
The currency gained 0.3 percent to 2.5522 per dollar at the close of trade in Sao Paulo after dropping 3.2 percent last week. Swap rates, a gauge of expectations for changes in Brazil’s borrowing costs, fell 0.04 percentage point to 12.61 percent on the contract maturing in January 2017. The real advanced amid optimism that the next finance minister will move away from policies that helped lead Brazil into a recession in the first half of the year. Today’s increase was the biggest among 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg after the South Korean won.
“There has been a lot of expectation that a new economic team will be able to restore growth,” Camila Abdelmalack, an economist at CM Capital Markets in Sao Paulo, said in a telephone interview.
Joe Leahy – Financial Times, 11/12/2014
At the height of Brazil’s bitterly fought election campaign in October, President Dilma Rousseff seemed to eschew any regard for market economics. To satisfy militant leftist supporters of her Workers’ Party, she painted members of the opposition PSDB party, known as tucanos, and its pro-business presidential candidate, Aécio Neves, as blood-sucking bankers.
“Those tucanos … implant inflation so they can collect interest,” she told an audience in Recife in Brazil’s poor northeast, the region whose support ensured her narrow 3 percentage point win in the election on October 26. “Today, Brazil has the lowest interest rates in its history,” she said during another encounter.
Three days after her victory in the election, however, the central bank did exactly what Mr Neves had been advocating – it increased interest rates to their highest level in three years to control inflation that is above the official target range ceiling of 6.5 per cent. Indeed, since the election, Ms Rousseff has quietly begun implementing several elements of Mr Neves’ platform to try to rebalance Brazil’s stagnant economy. Her stance has prompted jokes on Facebook that Mr Neves in fact won the election. The only difference is that Ms Rousseff’s version of his policies lacks her rival’s reformist zeal.
Paula Sambo – Bloomberg Businessweek, 11/04/2014
Brazil’s real led emerging-market declines as an unexpected drop in industrial production in September added to concern that President Dilma Rousseff will struggle to revive Latin America’s largest economy.
The currency weakened 0.9 percent to 2.5189 per dollar at 2:02 p.m. in Sao Paulo in the biggest drop among 24 developing nations. Swap rates, a gauge of expectations for changes in borrowing costs, increased 10 basis points, or 0.10 percentage point, to 12.49 percent on the contract due in January 2017.
The real also fell on wagers that Rousseff will appoint a finance minister who will maintain policies that helped lead to Brazil’s first recession since 2009. One-month implied volatility on options for the real, reflecting projected shifts in the exchange rate, was the highest among 16 major currencies.
Alonso Soto and Jefferson Ribeiro – Reuters, 10/15/2014
Aecio Neves would scrap a “failed” economic model and restore the pillars of Brazil’s economy to overcome slow growth and high inflation if he wins the presidency this month, the candidate’s pick for finance minister told Reuters on Wednesday.
Neves, a centrist who has promised to rescue Brazil from recession, is running neck-and-neck with leftist President Dilma Rousseff ahead of the Oct. 26 run-off vote in the tightest race in two decades.
Sluggish growth and high inflation have been the focus of a combative campaign that pits two candidates with opposing views on how to fix the ills of the world’s seventh largest economy. Arminio Fraga, a former central bank chief, said the senator would restore the so-called “tripod” of economic policies based on fiscal austerity, inflation targeting and a free floating exchange rate that gave Brazil stability two decades ago.
Paulo Trevisani – The Wall Street Journal, 09/30/2014
Brazilians face many options in the Oct. 5 vote, but for economists and investors the options are clear: It is reform or die.
Latin America’s largest economy has weakened in the past four years and now growth is near zero, inflation is high and business confidence is depressed. Central-bank interventions keep the currency from a free fall.
But with unemployment low and many voters satisfied with greatly expanded welfare programs, incumbent President Dilma Rousseff may well end up getting a second term.