Brazil Is Back to Pre-Junk Levels as Swaps Traders Bet on Temer

Julia Leite & Paula Samba – Bloomberg, 06/27/2016

Brazil is winning over derivatives traders as Acting President Michel Temer seeks to repair the nation’s finances.

The cost to hedge against losses in Brazil’s bonds with credit-default swaps has tumbled by almost a third in the past six months, the biggest drop among the world’s major economies. Prices of the swaps are also now back to levels that prevailed before S&P Global Ratings cut the country’s rating to junk in September.

The turnaround is part of a rebound in Brazil’s financial assets this year fueled by the removal of President Dilma Rousseff from office while she faces an impeachment trial. Since taking the reins last month, Temer has proposed spending caps to help shrink a near-record budget deficit and struck a deal to ease a fiscal crisis roiling Brazilian states amid the longest recession in more than a century.

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How to Get Brazil (And Latin America) Completely Wrong

Brian Winter – Americas Quarterly, 06/22/2016

It’s been yet another rough week for Brazil’s international image, with an Olympic mascot shot dead in an absurd accident and another national political figure dragged into scandal. But the biggest blow of all came from Declan Ryan, co-founder of the Irish budget airline Ryanair, who told an Argentine newspaper that he was considering expansion into every South American country “except for Brazil, where there is lots of corruption.”

This is precisely the wrong lesson to draw from Brazil’s struggles – akin to believing that the house that gets the most exhaustive inspection must also be the most rotten one on the block. It’s telling that Ryan made his comments (which became huge news in Brazil) while announcing an expansion into Argentina, where the corruption under 12 years of Kirchner rule is only now coming to light. Just last week, a former Argentine secretary of public works was arrested while trying to hide $9 million in cash in a monastery. Ryan preferred tolaugh that story off.

As regular AQ readers know, the negative headlines about Brazil result from a positive process – the independent prosecutors who have uncovered evidence of systemic graft and fraud, and sent some of the country’s most powerful people to jail. This does not mean Brazil is South America’s most corrupt country – it may mean, instead, that it has its healthiest (or most active) legal system. But the mistake Ryan made is surprisingly common, and it provides a golden opportunity for investors who are savvy enough to see the truth.

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Jaguar Land Rover opens first fully owned overseas plant in Brazil

Costas Pitas – Reuters, 06/14/2016

Luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) opened a new plant in Brazil on Tuesday, its first fully owned facility outside of Britain, as part of an investment announced before car sales began nosediving in the world’s ninth-largest economy.

The Tata Motors-owned automaker joins rivals such as Volkswagen and General Motors in setting up plants in the nation of 200 million people to circumvent high tariffs on imports and meet rules on locally produced content.

JLR first announced its 240 million pound ($350 million) investment in Brazil in 2013 as the market just ended a decade of growth with subsequent interest rate hikes, crumbling consumer confidence and political turmoil pushing down demand.

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Brazil’s Petrobras Trial Date Set, As U.S. Pension Funds Seek ‘Tens of Billions’ In Losses

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 05/26/2016

Brazil’s oil company Petrobras will finally get its day in a U.S. court on Sept. 19 in a trial that pits 18 former executives and 13 investment banks, including J.P. Morgan Securities, against U.S. and U.K. investors. Claimants are seeking “tens of billions of dollars” in losses.

The company is the centerpiece in what has become Brazil’s crime of the century. The scandal involving contract rigging, bribery and money laundering recently brought down a sitting president and promises to devour a chunk of Brazil’s career politicians in criminal probes.

“We are seeking multiple tens of billions of dollars,” says lead counsel Jeremy Lieberman of Pomerantz, the New York law firm leading the charge against Petrobras. “Not only are we challenging company statements on how it engaged in this bribery scheme and inflated its assets, we are saying that Petrobras’ claim that it lost about $2.5 billion to fraud is wrong. It’s a whole lot more than that.”

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Rousseff hangs by a thread after losing impeachment vote

Arnaldo Galvao, Anna Edgerton and Mario Sergio Lima – Bloomberg,  04/17/2016

Rousseff’s presidency is hanging by a thread after Brazil’s lower house of Congress voted in favor of her impeachment, a decision that cheered investors just as it threatens to bring down the curtain on 13 years of leftist rule.

The opposition garnered 367 votes, 25 more than the two-thirds majority it needed to send the impeachment motion to the Senate.

“The commencement of the impeachment process is authorized,” lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha said at the end of the session that was broadcast live on public screens across the nation.

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Brazil’s largest party to leave governing coalition

Katy Barnato – CNBC , 03/29/2016

Brazil’s political system is set to spin further out of control Tuesday as the biggest party in the Senate quits the ruling coalition, a move that will hike the odds on President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment.

The Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) announced Tuesday, as expected, it would pull six ministers from Rousseff’s Cabinet, ordering them to either resign or face ethics proceedings, Reuters reported Tuesday. If Rousseff is impeached, it would put Vice President Michel Temer, leader of the PMDB, next in line for the presidency, Reuters said.

Analysts are divided as to how Brazil’s economy and political situation might fare in the wake.

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Brazil credit ratings cut to junk by Moody’s

Paulo Sambo and Felipe Pacheco – Bloomberg, 02/23/16

Brazil’s sovereign rating was cut to junk by Moody’s Investors Service, the last of the major ratings companies to strip the country of its investment grade, as President Dilma Rousseff struggles to shore up fiscal accounts amid deepening political turmoil.

The country’s benchmark stock gauge declined the most in two weeks and the currency weakened after the rating was reduced two steps to Ba2. The outlook is negative, meaning more downgrades may be coming, Moody’s said in a statement Wednesday.

Brazil’s credit metrics have deteriorated “materially” in the past few months and will worsen over the next three years, according to the ratings company, which also cited the negative impact of political gridlock on the government’s efforts to close a budget deficit and undertake structural reforms. The cut — Brazil’s third in as many months from major ratings companies — adds pressure on Rousseff to win lawmakers’ support for measures to raise taxes and reduce spending as she fights off efforts to impeach her.

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