International Scenario Might Calm the Market in April
March brought to Europe, Northern Africa and Asia, a number of serious events, such as the disaster in Japan, civil war in Libya and the fall of the Portuguese Cabinet, which affected most markets negatively. However, we expect the international scenario to improve in April for two main reasons. First, these events were of a non-recurring nature. Second, key indicators suggest economic recovery in China, US and Europe continues, despite all the social and political turmoil mentioned above, and the inflationary pressures.
All attention focuses on the next move by the Central Bank
Inflation continues at a high level, while economic activity also seems intense. Credit figures released in February were high, although there were doubts about the base of comparison, with Carnival holidays having been in February in 2010 and March in 2011. Data on credit suggests that average maturity terms for credit lines increased, which might explain part of this behavior, as it reduces the concern of an increase in the level of interest rate hikes.
This unabated inflation is evidence that Government action was not enough, indicating the need for further measures. We are still in the middle of the interest rate hike cycle intended to curb inflation. In April, we bet on a final 50 basis points hike for this ongoing move, to 12.25%, after which we believe the Central Bank will wait and see if it needs to increase rates further in the final part of the year. After this last move, it is likely that the CB will make use of alternative measures to continue its fight against inflation. We believe that the market mood will depend greatly on what it decides. If it announces further measures in April, we believe market tension should ease while, if it does nothing more, nervousness might prevail.
Another issue not likely to affect the short term, but which should appear more and more on the market’s radar, is the possibility of Moody’s rating agency upgrading the Brazilian sovereign risk. The agency suggested that it might do so by the end of the second quarter. Currently, Brazil remains at the lowest investment grade level, ten levels below the top of the range.
After the results season, and with this expectation of a tense local scenario, we have changed our portfolio for April. We increased the weight of Vale to 20 from 15% and made substitutions with the same weights: 1) Eletropaulo for Tractebel, with dividends already paid out, and 2) We substituted MRV and PDG for Even and EZ Tec because the first two reported reduced margins. Finally, we withdrew Telesp, as the share performed well and we see no short-term catalyst.
Source: BANIF, 01. April 2011