FiNETIK – Asia and Latin America – Market News Network

Asia and Latin America News Network focusing on Financial Markets, Energy, Environment, Commodity and Risk, Trading and Data Management

Brazil – Increasing Risks Might Harm Markets- Monthly Allocation – March 2011

Political tension and increasing international commodity prices

We have seen the rise of commodities prices as a risk of inflation, which ultimately would pose a risk to interest rates. Rising inflation, pushed by costs that would then cause interest rate increases, is unwanted while economic activity does not pick up. Additionally, tensions in North African countries have sent oil prices up as well, which reinforces the scenario of an increase in costs.  Brazil – Monthly Allocation – March 2011

The tension in North African countries is likely to be the dominant international event during March. Following the movement started in Egypt, which led to the fall of a long established dictatorship, other countries, with similar political structures, have started having protests, with unpredictable outcomes.

In China, the celebrations of the local New Year halted release of economic data. However, from the data so far released, we see unchanged risks and believe the country suffers from the increase in commodities prices, as does the rest of the world.

Apart from these political and commodities problems, indicators continue to point to an improving economic activity for the US and Europe, although still at a slow pace.

Local risks still relate to inflation

If the political tension does not deteriorate much further, we believe that local problems in Brazil will dominate the mood of investors. The main local ST risks we see are the still unknown extent of the inflation surge and the efficiency of the measures taken.

After the initial optimism at the beginning of the year, we continue to see a deterioration of expectations, which should continue until the wave of price increases comes under control. Additional to these price increases, the minimum wage, an additional important price, is about to be formally indexed. The approval of this year’s minimum wage comes together with a formula for automatic future adjustments, which formalizes a hitherto informal methodology. With this measure, the government reinforces the need to control other sources of inflation. These include other possible budget costs, the increase in interest rates, credit expansion, etc.

The Government has attempted to control inflation through a reduction of economic activity. The risk here is that the measures may cause an excessive economic slowdown and, for instance, bringing GDP growth below 4% this year (while current expectations are of a GDP around 4.5%).

With this scenario, we have changed our portfolio to make it more defensive, more linked to inflation-adjusted revenue companies and less dependent on companies related to credit and GDP growth. We have included HRT with a weight of 5%, and increased Eletropaulo’s weight (to 10 from 5%). We have also reduced the weight of MRV (to 5% from 10%) and withdrawn Hering.

Source: BANIF, 01.03.2011

 

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