Latin America

Colombia

Is high inflation here to stay in Latin America?

Following a surge in inflation across the region this year, we think that headline rates are at, or close to, a peak in major Latin American economies. But strong underlying price pressures will prevent inflation from falling below central banks’ targets over the next year or so. Monetary tightening cycles therefore have a lot further to run across the region, especially compared to elsewhere in the emerging world.

15 September 2021

Putting risky asset valuations into context

This Update compares the valuations of the twelve different “risky” asset classes that we cover on our Asset Allocation service, both relative to one another and to the yields of “safe” assets, as well as explaining how those valuations inform our long-term returns forecasts.

13 September 2021

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
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Evergrande & frontier sovereign debt risks build

The combination of large foreign-currency debt burdens, low FX reserves and weakening currencies means that the risk of sovereign defaults in Sri Lanka and Tunisia is growing. Elsewhere, China’s largest property developer, Evergrande, appears to be close to collapse, which would cause large losses for banks and bondholders. Were this to cause stress in the banking sector, the government would ultimately step in to restore stability. Elsewhere, banking sectors in Turkey, India and the UAE are points of concern.

Em. Europe & Lat Am leading the recovery in Q3

Most economies in Emerging Europe and Latin America look set for a strong third quarter and, while the near-term outlook for Southeast Asian economies remains challenging, high-frequency mobility provide early signs that at least parts of the region are over the worst.

Inflation risks growing

Inflation is at, or close to, multi-year highs across Latin America which has prompted a slew of interest rate hikes across the region. We think that central banks in Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Peru will continue their tightening cycles over the coming months, and that Colombia’s will soon join the club. However, in general, we expect that inflation across Latin America will fall in 2022 as temporary factors (base effects linked to fuel prices, re-opening effects, supply shortages) unwind, bringing tightening cycles to an end within a year or so. A key risk is if the current high rates of inflation cause expectations to drift higher, which may prompt central banks to press on the brakes more aggressively than we currently anticipate.

Colombia: BanRep to hike despite Q2 GDP drop

The sharper-than-expected 2.4% q/q fall in Colombia’s GDP in Q2 was largely due to protest-related disruption in May and masked a strong rebound in output at the end of the quarter. The economic recovery appears to be progressing well so far in Q3, so we still expect that the central bank (BanRep) will begin a tightening cycle at its next meeting in September with a 25bp rate hike (to 2.00%).

Peru & Mexico hikes, Chile’s public spending spree

Peru’s central bank, under the renewed stewardship of Governor Julio Velarde, started its tightening cycle yesterday with a 25bp rate hike, to 0.50%, and we think that rates will rise to 2.75% by the middle of next year. Elsewhere, there was another split vote as Mexico's central bank also hiked its policy rate by 25bp (to 4.50%) and we think its tightening cycle will end sooner than most investors currently expect. Finally, the fresh fiscal stimulus announced by Chile's government will give a boost to the economic recovery, but it is another worrying sign of a shift away from pragmatic policymaking.

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