Latin American stocks hovered near 2019 lows on Wednesday led by steep losses in Argentina and Brazil which resumed trading after a two-day Carnival holiday, while currencies of oil exporters in the region fell as crude prices came under pressure. MSCI's index of Latin American stocks fell 1.3%, tracking losses across the region, barring Chile and Colombia which ended higher.
Rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) slashed the credit rating for Mexico’s national oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, piling more pressure on the government to tighten up the debt-laden oil firm’s finances.
Global trade growth is on track to slide further the first quarter of 2019, the World Trade Organization said. WTO in September said it expects world merchandise trade growth will slow to 3.7% this year down from 3.9% in 2018.
The real business of governing Brazil starts this Friday for president Jair Messias Bolsonaro with the opening of the new congress through which his ambitious reform program must pass. The former army captain is currently absent from Brasilia will have to follow events from his hospital bed in São Paulo, where he is recovering from a third major operation following his stabbing at a campaign rally last year that almost cost him his life.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday signaled its three-year-drive to tighten monetary policy may be at an end amid a suddenly cloudy outlook for the U.S. economy due to global headwinds and impasses over trade and government budget negotiations.
Brazil’s federal debt rose to 3.88 trillion Reais ($1.03 trillion) in December, up 8.9% from 3.56 trillion Reais a year earlier, and is expected to rise further this year, the Brazilian Treasury said. The Treasury predicts public debt this year will swell to somewhere between 4.1 trillion and 4.3 trillion Reais, the upper end of which would represent an increase of almost 11%, it outlined in its annual financing plan.
Venezuelan authorities on Monday approved a new, privately run foreign exchange system that will operate in parallel to the official currency control system, as an emboldened opposition challenges President de facto Nicolás Maduro.
Brazil’s current account deficit doubled last year as economic growth fueled demand for foreign goods and services, while foreign investment reached its highest share of GDP since 2001, the central bank said on Monday.
China’s central bank injected a record US$ 83 billion into the country’s financial system on Wednesday, seeking to avoid a cash crunch that would put further pressure on the weakening economy. China’s policymakers are pledging to step up stimulus measures this year and do more to protect jobs as economic growth cools to 28-year lows.
Investors have placed an excessively high-risk premium on Argentine assets compared to their peers, according to Finance Secretary Santiago Bausili, quoted in a report by Bloomberg. Argentina's country risk rating has been hovering at 7.0 percentage points.