Barclays Capital said on Thursday that Brazil’s economic growth will be worse than they expected only a couple of months ago. Their latest -3.1% compared to a previous estimate of -2.8%.
Brazil’s economy remains one of the most disappointing in the big four emerging markets. A one-two punch of China and Brazil’s penchant for Banana Republicanism has put the economy on its knees with some saying the worst might not be over yet. BarCap’s Bruno Rovai said today that downside risks remain. No one dares call a bottom on this market anymore.
Fourth quarter GDP contracted 1.4%, a little bit better than consensus forecasts of a 1.6% decline. Most of it was due to a drop in fixed asset investment in things like roads and bridges, and public spending as austerity continues to take its toll.
The fall of 4.9% over the third quarter for fixed-asset investments was larger than market estimates; the same holds for public spending’s 2.9% decline.
Brazilians are spending less money, of course. Household consumption fell 1.3% from the third quarter and imports contracted much more than projected — by 5.9% quarterly compared to forecasts of a 0.7% drop.
Confidence index levels are showing some signs of stabilizing at lower levels, suggesting that the worst may be behind us, says Rovai. ”Real GDP will continue to contract during the first half of the year, but at a lower magnitude than in the second semester of last year,” he says in a rare bit of good news.
Brazil’s recession will be slightly more contained this year than in 2015, although far from suggesting any recovery trend. Risks remain to the downside. For BarCap, GDP in Brazil will contract 0.6% in the first, led by household consumption and fixed asset investments. For the rest of this year, these two should be the main drivers of weakness as they are expected to fall by 3.5% and 11.9%, respectively, contributing negatively to growth once again.