BlackRock on Brazil: “If not now, then when?”

Added 27th April 2016

A double whammy of political change and an upswing in commodities is a huge boost for the investment case for Brazil, according to BlackRock’s Will Landers.

BlackRock on Brazil: “If not now, then when?”

Brazil, and Latin America in general, have suffered during the past five years - the period during which President Dilma Rousseff has been in office.

Starting in January, performance of emerging markets started to turn when the Fed aligned itself with the central banks around the world and took a much more dovish stance, said Landers, who runs the BlackRock Latin American Investment Trust.

“The period of dollar strength we’ve seen for a couple of years is taking a pause, maybe it’s over, depends who you talk to. We started to see some discipline around the supply of commodities, you’ve started to see that with oil already,” he said.

“Overall, we think the environment is better for commodities including oil now, and that’s obviously supportive of emerging markets”, Landers continued.

There have been some recent speculative commodity movements in China, he said. But overall commodities are in a better place, in Landers view, which is supportive for emerging markets and would be enough for Latin America to catch up.

He added: “We’ve seen that with the currencies across the region, especially when we look at the Mexican peso, which had been one of the worst performers up until February.

"The Central Bank of Mexico did make a strong move in raising rates when no one expected it, along with the Finance Ministry reducing the budget there."

Landers believes this helped the Mexican peso, which is one of the most liquid currencies in Latin America.

BlackRock is bullish on Mexico, which has been performing strongly with an opening up of its domestic energy sector recently. 

Two of the fund manager’s top-ten holdings in Latin America are Mexico-based companies: Femsa and Banorte. The list also includes Ambev, Itau, Cemex, America Movil, Walmex, Bradesco, BB Seguridade and Credicorp.

But the big event – and the reason why Latin America has outperformed - during this upswing, is the political situation in Brazil. The country represents half of the opportunities in Latin America, said Landers.

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