Latin America

Ecuador

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

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.

19 August 2021

SDR allocation a positive but won’t solve debt woes

The $650bn allocation of IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) that was finally signed off by the IMF yesterday should provide welcome relief to some frontier markets such as Ghana and Kenya that still face very high foreign borrowing costs. But it won’t solve the underlying problems in EMs where debt dynamics look unsustainable, such as Tunisia and Argentina.

3 August 2021
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Q3 looking brighter

While the regional economic recovery stuttered in Q2, it appears to be gathering pace in Q3. New COVID-19 cases have dropped back, particularly in Chile and Uruguay suggesting that their rapid vaccination programmes are proving effective. Restrictions have been eased across Latin America which is reflected in the improvement in the latest high-frequency data. Mexico is the key exception to this trend. It is currently in the midst of a Delta-induced third wave, which provides a warning sign to other countries with similarly low vaccination coverage. But, for now, the positive developments in much of Latin America reinforce our view that the near-term economic outlook for the region is not as bad as many think.

Not all doom and gloom

Virus outbreaks are easing in much of Latin America which should support activity in the near term. And while vaccination coverage is still weak in most of the region, suggesting there is still a clear risk of further virus waves, economies are becoming increasingly resilient on this front. We think that the pace of the regional recovery will beat most analysts’ expectations in the coming years. Further monetary tightening lies in store but, with headline inflation rates set to drop back in 2022, interest rates probably won’t rise as far as investors are currently pricing into financial markets. Meanwhile, political risks are likely to grow over the coming year, raising debt concerns and putting local financial assets under pressure.

Economic ‘immunity’ improving

Latin America is once again the global epicentre of COVID-19 but, from an economic perspective, the region has built up significant immunity to the virus. Indeed, despite the surge in new virus cases at the start of Q2, the latest activity data show that the region’s economies held up well, especially those of Brazil and Colombia. It appears that businesses and consumers have adapted to various restrictions, which bodes well for economies during the latest wave of infections. Better still, outbreaks appear to be easing and lockdown measures are being lifted in Argentina, Chile and Peru, which should support their recoveries heading into Q3. Overall, we’re more optimistic than most about the near-term economic outlook for Latin America, even though the region’s prospects are still dimmer than elsewhere in the emerging world.

Ecuador: breathing room, but long fight still ahead

The debt restructuring deal provisionally agreed between Ecuador’s government and a group of its creditors would, if implemented, ease near-term pressures on the public finances. But we are more pessimistic on its potential to help Ecuador achieve debt sustainability.

13 July 2020

Is Ecuador on the brink of default?

The fall in oil prices has increased default risk in Ecuador. But given the government’s track record of fiscal austerity and the possibility of further multilateral financial support, the likelihood of imminent default seems to be lower than markets are pricing in.

11 March 2020
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