At 13.25 percent, Brazil’s towering interest rate looks totally out of line at first glance.
Expectations may have been pushed to later this year for when the U.S. Federal Reserve will hike interest rates, but a repeat of another steep sell-off in emerging market stocks appears unlikely as much has already been priced in – and because of the stronger dollar.
The rapid erosion of Brazil’s job market is taking most economists by surprise, an analysis of Reuters Polls data shows, in a worrying sign that already-grim expectations for Latin America’s largest economy have not been pessimistic enough.
Borrowing in dollars is like playing “Russian roulette”, India’s central bank chief Raghuran Rajan said on Bloomberg TV this week.
Just as ECB President Mario Draghi announced a massive bond-buying program to revive Europe’s economy and fend off deflation fears, news of shockingly low inflation popped up elsewhere in the globe: consumer prices in Mexico dropped 0.19 percent in early January, far below all 19 forecasts in a Reuters poll.
Market forecasts for Brazil’s economic growth this year have been falling steadily for months, reaching a meager 0.5 percent in Reuters latest quarterly poll published on Thursday. One year ago, a similar survey predicted growth of 2.5 percent in 2015.
Brazil’s newly-re-elected government is set to announce on Friday that the recession that began at the start of 2014 is now over. But a minefield of risks surrounding Latin America’s largest economy recommends caution before celebration.
Brazil’s unemployment rate has been a mystery for months: a strike in the country’s statistics agency, ironically enough, disrupted its main job market survey. The numbers will finally come out in a few hours, less than two weeks before a tight presidential election, and will help voters understand just how bad the recently-confirmed recession has been.