Banco Santander Brasil SA, apologized for a note sent to some of its high-income clients in Brazil saying the economy would worsen if President Dilma Rousseff’s chances of being re-elected stabilized or improved.
The text was part of a monthly statement sent to customers representing about 0.2% of the bank’s client base, the lender said on its website on Friday. The note said stocks and the currency could reverse gains if Rousseff stems her drop in voting polls, according to newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo which leaked the report.
The note “in no way reflects the position of the institution,” Santander said on its website. It violated an internal directive that economic analysis sent to clients shouldn’t contain “political or partisan bias.”
Speculation that Rousseff is losing popularity as the October election approaches amid the slowest economic growth in two decades has helped push the Real up 5.9% this year.
The Ibovespa benchmark stock gauge has jumped 29% from this year’s low in March on bets that a change in government will reduce intervention in state-owned companies.
Since taking office in January 2011, Rousseff stepped up the government’s role in industries such as utilities and energy, changing concession renewal rules to lower electricity rates and forcing Petrobras, the state-run oil producer, to charge below-market gasoline prices to tame inflation.
Support for Rousseff among potential candidates for the Oct. 5 election slipped to 38% from 39% last month, according to an Ibope July 18-21 poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points. Candidate Aecio Neves is running second with 22% compared with 21% in June.
Recent Datafolha and Sensus polls show Rousseff’s advantage over Neves in the second round falls within the margin of error, making the outcome too close to call.