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Posts Tagged ‘crisis’

The property market in Brazil has celebrated the news that a new record growth has been achieved, to show that the credit crisis has not reached the South American country. Housing credit has closed 2008 with 299.746 properties financed, the highest number ever and a rise of up to 53% over 2007.  According to ABECIP (Brazilian Association of Property Credit Institutions and Savings Accounts) , total amount of mortgages achieved over US$ 13 billion in 2008, a figure 64% higuer than the previous year. Only in december, total mortgage amount rose 36% in relation to november.

As The Move Channel has reported, as a consequence of the strong economy, prosperity levels are rising fast in Brazil, with sharp increases in housing demand. In just two years, 23 million people have risen to prosperity level C (middle class), which now counts 85 million people. This middle class has a monthly income between two and five times the official minimum wage.

With insufficient first home housing stock to satisfy local demand, Brazil currently has an estimated housing deficit of a minimum of eight million properties.

The middle classes are expected to purchase between 1,000,000 and 1,200,000 units per year until 2015. Fuelling demand further is the fact that for the first time in 25 years mortgages are available to Brazilians.

Mortgages account for only two per cent of GDP in Brazil, versus 65 per cent in the United States and 74 per cent in the UK, so consumers aren’t feeling the effects of credit squeeze. Massive growth in this sector means that domestic mortgages are predicted to increase by up to 600 per cent by 2014.

With this in mind it is clear that the first residence market within Brazil’s regional cities is a major investment opportunity and no region has seen faster growth that the North East.

In Natal for example, a local residential 100 square metre two bed room villa with a secure gated community can cost around 180,000 Reais (around £54,000) and deals can include optional rental guarantees of six per cent for four years and guaranteed buy back agreements from the developer.

As an investor, this means there is an opportunity to invest in well located local property that has a well defined target market and exit strategy, attracting middle class tenants and buyers.

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The global financial crisis is not expected to lead to a major economic downturn in Brazil, a new study has concluded. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), prospects for the South American country remain favourable in comparison with many other countries.

Indeed, the OECD’s composite leading indicators showed that the nation had experienced a decline of just 2.9 points in the last year. This compares with 7.6 points in the euro area and 8.7 points in the United States. The figures were based on various measures of economic activity, such as output in the industrial sector.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian central bank has polled 100 economists in an attempt to determine the likely rate of growth in 2009, Bloomberg reports. Respondents to the survey predicted on average that the economy would expand by two per cent this year.

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The Brazilian govervenment has celebrated today as the country’s GDP has grown to 1.8 percent in the third quarter from the second. These are further signs that the South American country is resisting the global recession.

According to the official statistics agency, IBGE, the expansion of the gross domestic product was faster than the 1.6 percent expansion in the second quarter from the first.

The announcement comes against pessimistic forecasts that saw GDP growing 1.2 percent in the third quarter. Previous estimates were between 0.4 percent to 1.4 percent growth.

According to Forbes NY: “On an annual basis, GDP expanded a robust 6.8 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period in 2007 , after posting a revised year-on-year growth of 6.2 percent in the second quarter. The result was stronger than the the 5.6 percent year-on-year GDP median growth forecast in the Reuters poll. Estimates ranged from 4.2 percent to 6.0 percent.”

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The flow of direct foreign investments in Brazil has already surpassed the figure foreseen by the Brazilian Central Bank for the whole of 2008. According to the Central Bank, the total value of foreign investments in the country were US$ 37,1 billion, well above the predicted figure of US$ 35 billion.

The value refers to direct investments done by foreign organizations buying Brazilian companies or investing into the expansion of production capabilities of firms already settled in the country. The Central Bank estimates that, in total, multinational corporations have up to US$ 370 billion already invested in the South American country.

The flow of investment occurred by now is also superior to the US$ 34,6 billion reported in 2007, until then, the highest result since the Central Bank began registering investments in 1947. Central Bank’s Economic Department Chief, Altamir Lopes, says that as oppose to stock market investors, direct investments have long-term objectives, which explains the positive results achieved even during a critical period in the world economy.

“Direct foreign investments are long term resources that keep flowing in a satisfactory way. This is a consequence of a overall perception that the Brazilian economy has solid foundations”, said Mr Lopes.

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Here’s a quick news round up, about the largest merger in the Brazilian banking history. Itau and Unibanco have announced a joint-venture yesterday creating the largest bank in Latin America – arguably the first major banking player in Latin America – combining about $260 billion in assets. The new Itau-Unibanco has also already announced investments in Mexico, Colombia and Peru. The press in Brazil has welcomed the merger, seen as a good timing to make the country’s financial system more solid to face tough times.

From The Wall Street Journal: “Brazil’s central bank recently announced a $50 billion program of currency swaps to keep financial institutions operating amid the credit squeeze. “This concentration will help strengthen the local financial system,” Finance Minister Guido Mantega told reporters in Brasilia.”

Washington Post: The banks did not give a value for their all-stock transaction, but Sao Paulo-based consultancy Economatica estimated the combined banks would have a market value of $41.3 billion, eclipsing Brazil’s state-owned Banco Brasil and the publicly traded Banco Bradesco.

Financial Times: “This operation takes place at a time of great changes and opportunities in the world, particularly in the financial sector,” they said, adding that Brazil’s banking industry was “in a privileged position, with enormous potential to improve its situation even more in relation to the rest of the world”.

The New York Times: “Whoever says the entire world needs to deleverage hasn’t paid attention to what’s happening in Brazil. Banco Itaú’s $15 billion takeover of a rival, Unibanco, should change that. The deal, announced Monday, creates Latin America’s biggest financial institution, which may become one of the few bright spots in the global banking firmament.”

AFP: “Together, Itau and Unibanco will have assets of 575 billion reais (265 billion dollars) and account for around 20 percent of Brazil’s savings accounts and credit. According to Fortune magazine, Itau made two billion dollars in profits last year from 29 billion dollars in revenues and 168.6 billion dollars in assets. Itau Unibanco would have a “strong international presence,” notably in the countries in the Mercosur trade bloc that comprises Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, it said.

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Brazil is perhaps one of the few countries in the world that hasn’t been talking about recession. The R word is not being mentioned in any of the large newspapers in the country. Moreover, Brazil’s economic team will unveil new credit measures for exporters suffering the consequences of the liquidity crunch. “For now, activity levels haven’t come down,” said Finance Minister Guido Mantega. “I believe there will be a slowdown in consumption and in activity level in Brazil. But we will not have a recession.” The main news agencies in Brazil have also reported that the series of measures the central bank has taken to minimize the impact of the crisis in the South American giant and to ease the liquidity crunch started by  investors not willing to take too much risks at the moment. This latest move is aimed at Brazilian exporters.

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Fresh news from Reuters reveal that the Brazilian banks are in extremely good shape, thank you very much…

Brazil’s two largest private-sector banks reported strong third-quarter earnings on Monday and said they would continue to take advantage of the current market turmoil to snap up loan portfolios from smaller rivals in distress.

Banco Bradesco (BBDC4.SA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Banco Itau (ITAU4.SA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) sought to allay concerns that they might be vulnerable to the recent devaluation of the Brazilian real BRBY against the U.S. dollar by disclosing their exposure to foreign currency derivatives.

Both banks have benefited from surging demand for consumer loans in Brazil’s fast-growing economy at a time when the global credit crunch has pummeled financial firms from the United States to Europe.

Strong loan growth helped Bradesco (BBD.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the top private-sector bank in Brazil, post a 3.2 percent increase in third-quarter net profit to 1.91 billion reais ($823.3 million).

Itau (ITU.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) was not scheduled to report earnings until Nov. 4 but rushed out its results because of the turmoil in financial markets. It posted a quarterly profit of 1.8 billion reais ($775.9 million), up 14.6 percent from a year earlier.

Read the full article here.

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