Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff speaks in Brasilia
Sao Paulo - AFP
Brazil's stock market soared Friday, adding 5.02 percent amid expectations that President Dilma Rousseff is ready to appoint a pro-market new finance minister to kickstart a sagging economy.
Embarking on a second term following her re-election last month, Rousseff faces a battle to win over the financial world with the economy in recession amid feeble growth and rising inflation.
But Friday saw frenzied media speculation led by Folha de Sao Paulo daily that the leftist leader will revitalize her treasury team by appointing the hawkish Joaquim Levy, currently chief executive officer of Bradesco Asset Management, part of Brazil's second-largest private bank.
A PhD holder in economics from the University of Chicago, Levy is a former chief economist at the ministry of planning who joined Lula's treasury team after the latter's election in late 2002, helping to establish the former union leader's market credentials.
"He is an excellent name. I see him as austere, rigorous. This could enable us to send out a signal that the finance ministry is embarking on fiscal adjustments" to restore market confidence, TAG Investments economist Andre Leite told AFP.
"He is a very respected person who usually works very well in concert with (Nelson) Barbosa," former deputy finance minister now reportedly set to become minister of planning, Leite added.
Levy, still to be confirmed in the post late Friday, was a latecomer to the race, with Bradesco colleague Luiz Carlos Trabuco having reportedly rejected Rousseff's advances Thursday.
Levy emerged behind other names including Barbosa, while other candidates included former central bank president Henrique Meirelles and current president Alexandre Tombini.
Sao Paulo's main Ibovespa index closed out the week at 56,084 points -- a public holiday meant no trading Thursday -- while the real added 2.42 percent to close at 2.519 to the dollar, four days after sliding to a nine-year low of 2.603.