Brazil’s Strong Economic Growth Signals Easing Monetary Policy Trend in Latin America
The Brazilian economy has shown signs of resilience, growing slightly more than initially anticipated, BNN Breaking has learned.
This growth has prompted central bankers to continue their easing cycle with a second consecutive interest rate cut. The economic activity index of the country, a stand-in for gross domestic product (GDP), rose by 0.44% in July compared to the previous month. This increase is marginally higher than the median estimate of 0.40% by analysts. On a year-to-year basis, the index rose by 0.66%.
Revision of June’s Monthly Growth
However, the central bank revised June’s monthly growth downward, from 0.63% to 0.22%. Despite this revision, the resilient growth has stirred uncertainty about the extent of economic slack and the level of neutral rates, which are significant for rate decisions. The latest activity data strengthens the case for a 50-basis-point rate cut to 12.75% at the forthcoming Copom meeting and makes a faster pace less likely.
Brazil’s Economic Performance Amid Tight Monetary Policy
Despite the strict monetary policy, Brazil’s economy, the largest in Latin America, has continued to outperform expectations. Key factors like robust services demand, an extraordinary harvest, and a strong labor market have pushed activity beyond most first-half forecasts. Consequently, analysts are revising their 2023 growth estimates upwards to around 3% as interest rates start to fall.
Rising Popularity of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
The slower inflation and stronger economic activity in Brazil have boosted the popularity of the country’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Consumer confidence is also on the rise, with a record 35% of Brazilians saying they see improvements in the country’s economic outlook.
Anticipation of Further Easing Cycle
Policymakers, led by Roberto Campos Neto, are expected to continue their easing cycle with another half-percentage point cut, lowering interest rates to 12.75%. Inflationary pressures in the services sector eased in August, supporting the case for the monetary authority. The central bankers are not in a hurry to accelerate the easing pace as the costs of tight rates for economic growth are currently limited.
Latin America’s Easing Monetary Policy Trend
Brazil joins a growing list of Latin American nations easing their monetary policy, including Chile, Peru, Uruguay, and Paraguay. This collective move towards a more relaxed monetary policy is indicative of an optimistic outlook for the region’s economic growth.
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