Markets downbeat on Brazil's new finance minister

GMT 07:52 2015 Tuesday ,22 December

Arab Today, arab today Markets downbeat on Brazil's new finance minister

New Brazilian Minister of Finance Nelson Barbosa
Sao Paulo - AFP

Brazil's new finance minister sought to reassure investors Monday as he took the reins of the recession-hit economy, but the Sao Paulo stock market and the Brazilian real both fell.

In his first full business day on the job, Finance Minister Nelson Barbosa held a teleconference with international investors, promising to practice the same fiscal discipline as his predecessor, Joaquim Levy.

"I want to underline that our economic policy is the same. Our focus remains on fiscal adjustment and reducing inflation," said the 46-year-old ally of embattled leftist President Dilma Rousseff.

The comments failed to reassure the markets, however.

The Sao Paulo stock market fell 1.62 percent, and the real currency broke through the barrier of four to the dollar for the first time in two and a half months, falling 1.44 percent.

The world's seventh-largest economy is stuck in a deep rut, facing runaway prices, budget woes and forecasts that its current recession will last two years.

The malaise has been exacerbated by a massive corruption scandal at state oil giant Petrobras and the opening of impeachment proceedings against Rousseff.

Levy, who took on the finance portfolio in November 2014, was supposed to be the pro-market saviour whose steely budget cuts would get the government's books in order and the economy back on track.

But he failed to achieve his goal of rebalancing the public finances in a poor country with a big welfare spending bill.

As the political and economic woes mounted, he found himself increasingly isolated in an administration more inclined to ramp up spending than cut it.

Barbosa, who was previously planning minister, is seen as less market-friendly.

Economic analysts warned he faced an uphill battle to establish his credibility in the business world.

"Either Barbosa does what needs to be done, or we turn out the lights and leave. The market doesn't believe in Brazil anymore, period," said Andre Ferreira of Corretora Futura in Sao Paulo.

Barbosa vowed to hew to Congress's primary surplus target of 0.5 percent of GDP next year.

Levy had insisted on a target of 0.7 percent of GDP. Brazilian media reports cited disagreement with his colleagues over the goal as a reason for his departure.


Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
arabtoday arabtoday arabtoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabs, Arab, Arab