Category Archives: Macroeconomics

Economists reduce Brazil inflation forecast for 2017 and the next 12 months

Market economists reduced their estimate for inflation by the Broad Consumer Price Index (IPCA) in 2017 and in the next 12 months, according to the average forecast in the Focus Bulletin, released on Monday by the Central Bank (BC) .

For this year, inflation bets were reduced from 3.03% to 2.88%, below the floor of the target for the calendar, of 3%. The center of the inflation target is 4.5%. In 12 months, the projection for the advance of prices increased from 3.96% to 3.91%. For 2018, the estimate was maintained at 4.02%.

Last Friday, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) reported that the IPCA slowed the rise to 0.28% in November, after rising 0.42% a month earlier.

The average estimate for economic growth had a new round of upward adjustments after the IBGE revised positively the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for the first and second quarters of this year. Thus, the projections went from expansion of 0.89% to 0.91% in 2017 and advance from 2.60% to 2.62% in 2018.

For the basic interest rate, Selic, at the end of 2018, the projections were maintained at 7%

IPCA inflation index slows down in November, according to IBGE

Inflation measured by the National Extended Consumer Price Index (IPCA) slowed to 0.28% in November, from 0.42% in October, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) reported Friday.

In the same month of 2016, the increase had been of 0.18%. Therefore, official accumulated inflation accelerated in 12 months: from 2.70% in October to 2.80% in November, according to the institute.

The IPCA in November was below the average of 0.35% estimated by 27 consultancies and financial institutions. The range of projections was from 0.31% to 0.47%. For the accumulated 12-month period, the expectation was of an increase of 2.88% in the prices

In the 11 full months of the year, the IPCA accumulated a rise of 2.50%, the lowest inflation for the period since 1998 (1.32%). Thus, with just one month remaining in 2017, inflation is below the target floor of 3% – the center is 4.5%, with a margin of 1.5 percentage points up or down.

Brazilian stocks and Real fall amid difficulty in approving pension plan reform

Brazilian financial market reacts negatively again to the noise surrounding the pension reform. According to professionals, this morning’s news brought more negative elements about the possibilities of the government being able to approve the reform, which was reflected in the dollar, interest rate hikes and in the fall of the Ibovespa stock index at the opening of the trading session.

But, half an hour after business started, prices have worsened, reacting to comments from House of Representatives president, Rodrigo Maia, that would have expressed a more pessimistic reading regarding the number of votes to approve the reform.

This market behavior confirms the investors’ sensitivity to the pension plan reform news, something that has already been happening in the last sessions and that intensifies as the deadline for voting approaches.

The importance of this reform for the Brazilian stock, currency and interest markets has already been explained in this article from June in this blog.

Fitch keeps the Brazilian credit rating at BB, with negative outlook

Fitch Ratings reinforced Brazil’s credit rating on ‘BB’, with a negative outlook. That is, with the possibility of the classification being revised downwards in the future.According to the agency, the country’s ratings is limited by the structural weaknesses in public finances and high government debt, weak growth prospects and weaker governance indicators than the country’s peers, in addition to the recent history of political instability.

These weaknesses, Fitch added, are offset by the economic diversity of Brazil and consolidated civil institutions.

The negative outlook reflects the continuity of uncertainties related to the sustainability and strength of the Brazilian economic recovery, the prospects for medium-term debt stabilization and the progress of the legislative agenda, especially the pension reform.

Fitch expects a modest cyclical recovery in Brazil, with growth accelerating from 0.6% in 2017 to an average of 2.6% during 2018 and 2019. Consumption began to recover, sustained by lower inflation, which drives wage gains, stabilization of the unemployment rate and a recovery of consumer credit. A recovery in investment is also expected in the coming years.

According to the agency, the risks that can cause the government not to reach its fiscal goals in the short term include a weaker economic recovery and the difficulty in cutting public spending, especially in the election year. The implementation of the pension Reform and other adjustments will be necessary to ensure that expenditures meet the target in the medium term.

Fitch projects that Brazilian public debt will continue to grow during the forecasted period, even taking into account the impact of the National Treasury’s loan payments anticipated by the National Development Bank (BNDES) between 2017 and 2018. The agency projects that debt will reach 76% of GDP in 2017 (above the median of the “BB” countries, 45%) and advance to 80% in 2018.

Brazil’s current account deficit is expected to fall below 1% in 2017, according to Fitch projections, and should remain below 2% in the period projected by the agency. The deficit fell 80% during the first nine months of 2017, compared to last year, with the growth of the trade surplus.

Funding of Brazilian companies with debt and equity jumps to R$ 192 billion (US$ 60 bi)

The wind begins to shift to the capital market in the wake of falling interest rates to near historic lows and the contraction of bank credit after two years of deep recession. Since last year, the favorable environment has opened space and consolidates a trend of strong growth for corporate debt issues, along with capital openings and subsequent stock offers, which increasingly assume a major role as a source of financing for large companies .
Between January and September, data from the Brazilian Association of Financial and Capital Market Entities (Anbima) shows that the issuance of fixed income securities in Brazil and abroad by companies plus funding through variable income in the country reached R$ 176.3 billion, or three and a half times the volume of R$ 49.9 billion granted by BNDES in the same period, according to figures from the state bank itself.

For Sergio Goldstein, chairman of Anbima’s corporate finance committee, the expansion is expected to continue in 2018: “the economy probably accelerates next year and thus there’s no way the capital market does not come along.”

A singularly favorable situation fuels this movement of greater participation of the capital market as a source of funds: falling interest rates and prospects that it will remain close to historical lows for a prolonged period, low inflation, growth, albeit gradual, and a change in the policy of subsidized rates by the BNDES.

Should you buy Brazilian stocks right now?

Brazil is in a very binary situation right now and that’s bringing huge volatility. Brazil’s current crisis is a fiscal one. That’s what caused the huge drop up until 2015. The labor party added a lot to the social networking in its 12 years in power and did not do the reforms the country needs, most notably, the pension plan reform. Pension plan deficit represents already 2.8% of the GDP, without change and with an aging population, this number will be unsustainable in as soon as 5 years. The labor party did have its merits in the beginning by taking a lot of Brazilians out extreme poverty but the lack of political power and will to make the reforms, coupled with huge corruption, erased most of its merits. So, comes 2016 and everything changes? Stock market and currency jumps and interest rates go down. The economy must have improved, right? Wrong! The only thing that improved was the expectation. With the rumors and subsequent consolidation of Dilma’s impeachment, the new president, Temer, who has in congress support what he lacks in popularity, was doing all the necessary reforms to the economy. The GDP has not improved yet, but the perspective is great and the price is right.

Then, comes corruption again and now it implicates Michel Temer. Stocks go down 10% and currency another 7%

Short after, markets start to recover thinking that, with or without Temer, the government base in the congress will be the same and the reforms will happen.

Then the binary dilemma: economy will continue to improve if these reforms pass and that seems to be the scenario both with the current president or with one replaced by the congress. In Brazil, if a president and vice president are impeached after two years in power, the replacement is chosen by the congress until the next election. However, there’s strong popular movement and even a proposed constitutional amendment to do direct elections right now and not wait until 2018. If that happens, you could see the labor party or other extremist come up strong and drop the stock market and currency further.

So, will this “diretas já” movement happen? It’s possible. The country is in big disbelief with the political representatives and not without reason. The curious part is that the direct election is what would be the most harmful to the economy and therefore, the population.

Bottom line: if you are looking at the long term: more than 5 years, this is probably a good time to buy. But in the next two years, except a lot of volatility or just remain neutral altogether (my position right now). If you are looking for hedge, you can consider BZQ, an ETF that seeks daily results that correspond to twice (200%) the inverse of the MSCI Brazil Index

Brazil is out of recession. But should you buy it?

President Michel Temer and economic ministers will celebrate the growth of 1% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of this year, compared to Q4 of 2016, excluding seasonal factors. When they do this, they will actually be celebrating the growth of agriculture and foreign demand (exports). Domestic demand – household consumption and investments – continued to fall and with worse results than expected.In the economists’ estimates, GDP would grow, on average, 0.9% in the first quarter of 2017 QoQ, in the seasonally adjusted series. Here, the recorded growth of 1% was slightly higher. But economists predicted 9.4% growth in agriculture and the GDP brought a rise of 13.4%. In industry, the result was also better, of 0.9% against a forecast of 0.8%. The services sector remained stable, but the expectation was a growth of 0.3%.

It is on the demand side that the GDP has been more frustrating. Economists projected the first increase (of 0.4%) after eight consecutive quarters of falling household consumption. The IBGE indicated, however, a further retraction of 0.1%, postponing the recovery. And the investment retreat was much deeper than expected. Estimates indicated a small decline of 0.3%, but the reality was cruel and the figure was negative at 1.6%. All comparisons are QoQ, minus the seasonal effects.

Weak domestic demand is also clear in trade data, down 0.6% from the end of last year.

The government may even celebrate the outcome, but from the standpoint of indicating a domestic recovery, GDP in the first quarter was worse than expected. And the political crisis and the signal issued yesterday by the Monetary Policy Committee (Copom) that the interest rate down trend will slow down, act to further delay the good news, so long awaited.

Foreign direct investment in infrastructure grew more than 500%

Foreign capital inflows into infrastructure activities in Brazil grew more than 500% in the first four months of this year compared to the same period in 2016, reaching a mark of US$ 11.4 billion. The flow represents more than 50% of direct investment in the country for capital participation operations registered by the Central Bank (BC) from January to April, a total of US$ 21.5 billion.

Market analysts are projecting, however, that this performance may decline sharply as a result of the new political crisis directly involving President Michel Temer, although this reaction does not mean that investors and infrastructure operators are giving up on the country.

“Basically when an investor is going to put money into a project, he considers risks and returns, both are measurable,” said economist Cláudio Frischtak. “As long as this veil of uncertainty is not lifted, investors will wait,” he said. “That does not mean giving up, I do not know anyone who has given up the country.” Frischtak specializes in the infrastructure area of ​​Inter.B consulting.

Brazilian Government Announces Economic Package with 12 Measures

President Michel Temer announced on Thursday (15) a new economic package with measures to stimulate the economy. Also taking part in the announcement were the house or representative’s president, Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ), Senate’s President Renan Calheiros (PMDB-AL), Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles and the Minister of Planning, Dyogo Oliveira.

Temer started the announcement saying that the goal is to stimulate growth and reduce unemployment. Before announcing the measures officially, the president commented on the approval of the PEC 241, which limits spending increases for the next 20 years, approved on Wednesday.

According to Temer, “these reforms aim to increase the growth of the Brazilian economy. We never ignored the difficulties that we would have when we took over the government, but we are succeeding in advancing these topics.”

Despite being positive for the economy, these 12 measures are seen as a desperate way to try and deviate the attention from the corruption investigations that are currently hitting Temer’s government right in the core. In any case, the measures are positive. To them:

Tax Debt Negotiation

Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles was responsible for giving more details on each of the measures. The first provides for tax debt negotiation for companies with debts due through November 30. Meirelles said that “any tax debt” is eligible, including social security. For debts that are being questioned in the Court, it is necessary to prove the desistance of the lawsuits.

“The program allows tax negotiations for companies that are preparing to grow again, as macroeconomic adjustment is under way,” said Meirelles.

Guaranteed Property Letter

Another measure, according to Meirelles, is the regulation of the “Letra Imobiliária Garantida”, an instrument of funding for real estate credit. The objective is to broaden the supply of long-term credit for civil construction.

Meirelles said that this type of bond, being both secure and long-term, is an “important alternative source for real estate lending and increases the supply of long-term lending to the industry.” This measure will have to go through public consultation and then be regulated by the National Monetary Council (CMN).

Improvement in the “positive register”

Meirelles also announced the improvement of the positive credit rating, which allows the creditor to analyze the person’s history. Membership becomes automatic, and exclusion has to be requested. The goal is to reduce credit risk and make room for lower interest rates for good payers.

Credit measures

Meirelles says another measure is to allow price differentiation according to the mode of payment. Such a change allows retailers to charge different prices depending on the payment mode used, ie different prices if the customer pays cash or credit card, which is currently prohibited by law. He recalled that it is common for stores to give discounts for purchases made in cash, but not the same on credit cards.

Reduction of card interest

Another measure presented by Meirelles is the reduction of interest rates on the credit card charged to the consumer and the term of payment to the merchant. The minister says the regulation should be submitted within 10 days.

Bank spread

According to the finance minister, the government is also proposing the creation of the electronic duplicate with the objective of reducing the so-called “spread” of the banks (difference between the rate of funding, close to the basic rate of the economy, at 13.75%/ year today, and the rate charged to bank customers).

“We want to create a central registry of duplicates, credit card receivables and allow the granting of credit with a lower guarantee, which increases the security for creditors and the supply of credit for small and medium-sized enterprises, with lower interest rates. “, he said.

Reduction of bureaucracy

On the issue of de-bureaucratization, Meirelles says that they will simplify the payment of labor, social security and tax obligations through a system called eSocial. The objective is to reduce the time spent by companies to fill declarations, forms and books and the redundancy of information provided to the tax authorities. The deadline for implementation in all companies would be July 2018.

Refund of taxes

Another proposal is to simplify the procedures for restitution and compensation of the taxes administered by Receita (Brazilian IRS), including the compensation between the social security contribution and other taxes.

Business Start-up

Meirelles says another measure will reduce the time to open ventures. A national network for simplifying the registration and legalization of companies and businesses will be implemented.

Competitiveness

The government also announced measures to speed up purchases and sales in foreign trade. According to Minister Meirelles, a single web-accessible portal will be created to forward all documents and data required for business transactions with other countries.

“The idea is to cut import and export procedures by 40 percent”, he said. The implementation period for exports is until March 2017 and for purchases from abroad until the end of next year.

BNDES

Following this, the Minister of Planning, Dyogo Henrique de Oliveira, spoke about other measures. The first deals with the increase from R$ 90 million to R$ 300 million the limit to access the BNDES credit for micro, small and medium enterprises.

Companies with up to R$ 300 million in revenues can also renegotiate debts of operations of up to R$ 20 million with the BNDES. Therefore, companies can seek cheaper interest rates, based on the Long-Term Interest Rate (currently at 7.5% per year).

According to him, the total volume of refinancing is estimated at R$ 100 billion, which will “increase the liquidity of companies”.  “Today, companies are suffering from a great deal of liquidity,” said the Planning Minister.

For large companies, with revenues above R$ 300 million per year, operations included in the Investment Support Program (PSI) may be refinanced. “These refinanced amounts will be with BNDES’ own resources, but with funds with TJLP (Long-Term Interest Rate) funding, with a lower cost”, he said.

FGTS

Another measure announced is the distribution of half of the profits in the FGTS to the workers. “That is to say, when there are profits, part of them will continue to be deposited and the other half will be made available to the worker to pay debts or make a different use”, he said.

Still on the FGTS, he announced the gradual reduction of the additional fine of 10% – which is paid by employers at the time of dismissal of employees, on top of the 40% that goes to employees. According to him, the idea is to reduce that 10% at the rate of one percentage point a year to relieve the entrepreneurs.

Brazilian Economy shrinks 0.51% in May, according to the Central Bank

The Brazilian economy has not confirmed the brief improvement in April. The Economic Activity Index Central Bank (IBC-Br) fell 0.51% in May, after growing 0.07% in April (revised), which was the first increase in 15 months. In the year, the decline was a significant 5.79%.

In the 12 months ending in May, the IBC-Br indicates a decrease of 5.43% in the series without adjustment and 5.51% in the adjusted data. Due to the constant indicator review, the IBC-Br measured for 12 months is more stable than the monthly measurement. Compared with May 2015, there was a low of 4.91% in the series without adjustment and 5.32% with adjustment.

The results came worse than expected by the market players. The average of forecasts made by 21 financial institutions suggested a decrease of 0.24% in the month. Estimates ranged from a decrease of 0.9% and increase of 0.1% for the monthly variation.

In the June Inflation Report, the central bank projected a drop of 3.3% in the GDP for 2016, against the previous forecast of a 3.5% decline. Analysts consulted for making the Focus Bulletin also point to a decrease of 3.3% for the Brazilian economy this year.