Wall Street Will Not Be Kind To Brazil Tomorrow

Dilma rousseffFrancois Lenoir/ReutersBrazil’s President Dilma Rousseff speaks at a joint news conference with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (unseen) during an EU-Brazil summit in Brussels February 24, 2014.

Dilma Rousseff has won another term as Brazil’s president, reports BBC News.

President Rousseff garnered 51.45% of votes cast.

Despite allegations of corruption at the highest levels of her administration — especially regarding the massive state oil firm Petrobras — after a close campaign against center-right candidate Aecio Neves, the incumbent will have another four years to right Brazil’s ship.

It will not be easy, and Wall Street knows that. As a result the markets may punish Brazil’s markets in the morning.

Over the last four years the country has taken a turn for the worse. Low commodity prices have hurt Brazilian exports, and so has a Chinese slow down. Inflation is high, and corporate profits are thin. 

This is a task that Wall Street analysts thought Neves was better suited for. He ran a campaign on tightening monetary policy and bringing investment back to Brazil.

In fact, a Neves win would have bolstered a Brazilian investment theme popularised by hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz — Brazil, “so bad it’s good.”

Novogratz told investors earlier this year that a Neves win could be the change the country needed. As a result, the Brazilian stock market has been a whipsaw for over and month, rising and falling as Rousseff and Neves duked it out in the polls.

Either way, however, says Societe Generale analyst Dev Ashish, monetary policy and foreign investments have their limits. They’re far less powerful tools without increased domestic output and demand.

He wrote: “…the success of monetary policy depends on finding some alternative domestic source sof growth in the absence of greater demand (and prices) for commodities and other Brazilian exports. A lot will depend on how quickly the new government can work to restore investors’ confidence after the 26 October election, which would help not only growth but also to resolve the currency and inflation issues.”

 That is why some on the Street have been sceptical that a Neves victory would make a huge difference either way.

Last Monday, short-seller Jim Chanos of Kynikos Investments gave a presentation on Petrobras, Brazil’s quasi-state oil firm, at the Robin Hood Investor conference. His dark thesis on the health of the massive company, sent the stock, Brazil’s ETF, and the country’s market falling.

He said he gave the presentation to warn investors not to buy into what Cantor Fitzgerald once called the Brazil “farce.”

“… I thought it was timely this week that if that’s what happens and if investors knee jerk run into the Bovespa and buy Petrobras because Neves wins, I think it’s a great entry point on the short side in this story because it doesn’t change the economies of the situation,” Chanos told Bloomberg TV.

Rousseff’s win changes the economics even less.

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