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.
William Jackson Chief Emerging Markets Economist
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Latin America Economics Focus

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

Latin America Economic Outlook

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

Latin America Economics Weekly

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.

15 October 2021

More from William Jackson

Latin America Economics Weekly

Brazil’s political crisis, Mexico’s austere budget

It’s been a rollercoaster week in Brazilian politics and financial markets and, while investors have breathed a small sigh of relief in the past day or so, we think that they will be put under further pressure as the 2022 election nears. Elsewhere, Mexico's austere 2022 budget unveiled this week suggests that fiscal policy will continue to do very little to support the economy, which reinforces our view that Mexico's recovery will underperform most of its regional peers.
CE Spotlight 2021: The Rebirth Of Inflation? We’re holding a week of online events from 27th September to accompany our special research series. Event details and registration here.

10 September 2021

Emerging Markets Economics Focus

The pandemic and EM scarring risks

The pandemic is likely to inflict lasting damage on potential growth in economies in much of Latin America, Africa and South and Southeast Asia, adding to the structural headwinds that they already faced. However, the risk of permanent scarring in many other emerging markets – including much of East Asia and Emerging Europe – is overstated.

9 September 2021

Latin America Data Response

Brazil IPCA (Aug.)

The rise in Brazil’s headline inflation rate to 9.7% y/y last month was driven by a broad-based strengthening of price pressures. With the economy re-opening and electricity tariffs hiked this month, the headline rate will remain uncomfortably high well into next year. Our base case is that Copom will hike the Selic rate by 100bp (to 6.25%) when it meets this month, but the risk of a larger hike is growing.

9 September 2021
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