Brazil IPCA-15 (Sep. 2021)

The increase in Brazilian inflation to 10.1% y/y in the middle of September means that another large hike in the Selic rate at the Copom meeting next month is nailed on (we expect a 100bp hike to 7.25%). And while inflation should start to ease back from October, we think that the tightening cycle will continue with the Selic rate is likely to hit 9.00% by early next year.
William Jackson Chief Emerging Markets Economist
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Latin America Economics Weekly

What does FinMin Marcel mean for Chile?

President-elect Boric’s announcement today that (now outgoing) Governor of the Central Bank, Mario Marcel, will be Chile’s next Finance Minister is a clear signal that his government will pursue prudent fiscal policy. While the news is going down well with investors, we think that lingering political, fiscal and external risks will ultimately make it difficult for the peso to keep hold of its recent gains. We expect that the currency will weaken by 5-10% against the US dollar by year-end.

21 January 2022

Latin America Economic Outlook

Falling to the back of the pack

The regional recovery will lag further behind others in the emerging world in the coming years. The Omicron-led surge in virus cases presents a risk to growth in the near term, but we suspect that the economic hit will be small. Larger drags will come from the unwinding of fiscal support and further monetary tightening in response to high inflation. Our rate forecasts are generally more hawkish than the consensus. Falling commodity prices will also weigh on growth in the region, and will cause current account balances to deteriorate, with external positions in Chile and Colombia looking increasing shaky. Lingering fiscal and political risks will keep local financial markets under pressure in much of Latin America, particularly ahead of elections in Brazil and Colombia this year.

20 January 2022

Latin America Economics Weekly

Closer look at Lula, auto sector U-turn?

There have been some recent clues that Brazil’s former left-wing president Lula, the current favourite to win October’s election, may not be as radical as some fear. But there is still a clear risk that he would backslide on key economic reforms. Otherwise, the encouraging recoveries in auto production in Brazil and Mexico tallies with broader evidence that global goods shortages began to ease towards the end of 2021. Unfortunately, the recent surge in Omicron cases globally risks putting a spanner in the works as supply chains may face renewed disruption.

14 January 2022

More from William Jackson

Latin America Economics Update

Brazil: Copom keeping its foot on the brakes

The statement from yesterday’s Brazilian central bank meeting, at which the Selic rate was raised by 100bp (to 6.25%), made clear that Copom is on the warpath to stop inflation expectations rising. With the inflation outlook worsening, we now think that the Selic rate will be raised to 9.00% by early next year (our previous forecast was 7.50%).

23 September 2021

Emerging Markets Economics Chart Book

Debt risks come back to the fore

Problems at Evergrande in China have dominated the headlines recently, but (sovereign) debt risks are brewing in other EMs too. Concerns about higher government spending and rising public debt levels are building in parts of Latin America. Meanwhile, sovereign dollar bond spreads have surged in a handful of frontier markets including Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Ethiopia. These economies all face the worrying combination of large external foreign-currency debt burdens, low FX reserves and weakening currencies. We are most worried about Sri Lanka. While the country will probably muddle through this year, it will face a crunch point in early 2022 when large bond repayments are due. A default is now looking the most likely option.

21 September 2021

Latin America Economics Weekly

Argentina’s PASO surprise, Pemex debt

The loss for Argentina’s ruling Peronists in the open primary (PASO) for mid-term legislative elections in November suggest that the political tides might be shifting and boosted local financial markets. But the country’s public debt problems are likely to re-surface before too long. Meanwhile, the news that Mexico’s government has purchased $7bn of foreign exchange from the central bank appears to be another step towards the state taking greater responsibility for Pemex’s debt problems.

17 September 2021
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