Brazil May Speed Up Rate Cut as Credit Worsens: Ex-BCB Director
Comment of the Day

March 08 2023

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Brazil May Speed Up Rate Cut as Credit Worsens: Ex-BCB Director

This article from Bloomberg may be of interest. Here it is in full: 

Brazil’s worsening credit outlook amid troubles facing local retailer Americanas SA raises the risk of a recession that could lead its central bank to change its balance of risks at the upcoming interest rate decision on March 21 and 22, Tony Volpon, a former director at the bank, said in an interview.

“At the very least, the central bank committee should change the balance of risks at the next meeting, which would be a signal to start cutting its rate in May”

NOTE: BCB said in the statement of Feb. 1 meeting, which maintained the Selic rate at 13.75%, that the risks to its inflationary scenarios remain in both directions, upside and downside

According to Volpon, high interest rates and worsening of credit in the midst of the Americanas case may reduce investment and increase the risk of a drop in economic growth

“If the BCB does nothing, it is almost certain that there will be a recession”

Volpon had written earlier on Twitter that “almost every recession needs a ‘snap’ and the Americanas case and the collapse of the credit market already set up an exogenous shock that, left unanswered, should lead to a recession”

Basic scenario is interest rate cuts starting in May, but BCB could cut it later this month if credit data show a more serious deterioration, says the former director

According to him, part of the market could react badly to an eventual Selic cut, which would lead to a greater rate curve steepening, but this would not prevent the positive effect of monetary relief on the economy

Possible negative investor reaction to an early interest rate cut could also be mitigated with announcement of the new fiscal framework, says Volpon

Eoin Treacy's view

The Selic overnight rate is currently sitting at 13.65% and CPI is at 5.77%. The aggressive pace of hikes in 2021, a year ahead of developed markets, successfully capped inflationary pressures and the central bank has held rates at elevated levels for long enough to convince consumers they are serious about fixing the problem.

Politicians on both sides of the divide have criticised the central bank but it is has held its resolve. The Lula administration wishes to boost fiscal spending but bank has been quite clear in stating they will not cut rates if irresponsible policies are adopted. That should help instil some discipline.
The Real continues to exhibit base formation development characteristics which support the view demand for the currency is set to improve.  
The iShares Brazil ETF is currently firming at the lower side of a three-year range.

Pagseguro Digital is a Brazilian fintech with a single digit multiple and heavily leveraged to a recovery in consumer activity when rates start to come down. 

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