Latin America

Brazil

Chile’s constitution, Brazil fiscal worries mounting

This week marked the two-year anniversary of the mass protests in Chile which caused a political risk premium to emerge in local financial markets and the currency, and we think that lingering political risks will keep them under pressure for some time. Similarly, we think that hard-hit Brazilian assets will continue to fair poorly from here, with suggestions this week that the government will break the spending cap adding to the evidence that the country's public finances will deteriorate in the coming years.

22 October 2021

A fresh look at Brazil’s public debt problem

Suggestions that Brazil’s government will raise welfare spending – and circumvent the spending cap in doing so – add to the evidence that there’s little appetite for the long-term fiscal squeeze needed to stabilise the public finances. Taken together with slower growth and higher interest rates, we think that the public debt-to-GDP ratio is likely to be on an upwards trajectory from next year. This feeds into our view that government bond yields will climb higher and that the real will weaken further from here.

20 October 2021

Best of the recovery now over

Easing virus outbreaks and the lifting of restrictions boosted recoveries across Latin America in Q3, but growth looks set to slow sharply over the coming quarters. The re-opening boost will soon fade. Fiscal support is, or will be, unwound while sustained above-target inflation will prompt more monetary tightening than most analysts expect. Meanwhile, supply constraints and falling commodity prices are becoming headwinds to the regional recovery too. So, having beaten expectations in recent months, the pace of the regional recovery is now likely to disappoint. The spectre of more populist policymaking will keep public debt concerns high, particularly in Brazil, putting local financial markets under pressure.

19 October 2021
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Supply shortages take their toll

The supply shortages that have affected many DMs have also intensified in emerging economies over the past couple of months. The automotive sector has been hit hard by global semiconductor shortages, weighing on recoveries in Mexico, Czechia and Hungary in particular. More broadly, EM manufacturers are struggling to meet new orders, causing backlog of works to increase. Meanwhile, recent power shortages have weighed on recoveries in China, India and Brazil. As shortages continue, they are likely to not just weigh on growth, but also add to upward pressure to core inflation. That will probably keep central banks in Latin America and Central Europe in particular in tightening mode.

Lower valuations may not help EM equities outperform

We don’t think the low valuations of emerging market (EM) equity indices relative to those of developed markets (DMs) is reason to expect EM equities to outperform over the next couple of years.

The fiscal risk of rising rates, Mercosur tariff cuts

Central banks were once again in the spotlight this week after the supersized 125bp rate hike in Chile, but one issue that is often overlooked is the damaging impact of rising interest rates on public finances across the region. Brazil is particularly vulnerable on this front, and may resort to financial repression over the medium term to alleviate debt risks. Otherwise, an agreement to cut Mercosur's common external tariff is a positive step towards liberalisation but, as always, domestic politics could be a hurdle for further progress.

Car woes to weigh on recoveries in Mexico & CEE

The supply constraints that have hit global vehicle output have probably reduced the level of GDP by a modest 0.1-0.2% in most EM auto producers, but some countries like Czechia, Hungary and Mexico have suffered much bigger blows. And the drag from vehicle production is likely to persist for some time yet.

Brazil: signs of stagflation

The multitude of supply shocks hitting Brazil’s economy are likely to keep inflation at 7-10% well into next year and cause the pace of recovery to slow to a crawl in the next few quarters. Overall, we now expect GDP growth of just 1.3% next year, which sits below the consensus.

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