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Posts Tagged ‘South America’

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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Still about the banking situation in Brazil, news come out everyday about new joint-ventures including heavy weights on the public sector – ie. Nossa Caixa and Banco do Brasil. The Financial Times gave a note about the consolidation process running at full throttle in the country.

Brazil’s banks are preparing for a wave of consolidation following this week’s merger of Itaú and Unibanco to create the biggest bank in South America. Brazil has about 150 banks, many of them small players concentrating on a single line of business such as car loans or payroll-linked loans, areas that have grown quickly in line with rising employment and wages.

“Smaller banks have been seeing growth of 30 or 40 per cent a year,” says Ceres Lisboa, banking sector analyst in São Paulo at Moody’s, the international credit rating agency. “That’s over. They’ll have to reinvent themselves.”

Dozens of these smaller banks will be snapped up or forced to retreat into niche markets. Banco do Brasil, the federally-owned bank that was Brazil’s biggest before the latest merger, and Bradesco, formerly the biggest private-sector bank, are expected to scurry for acquisitions as they try to regain their dominance.

Consolidation will be helped by recent government measures to inject liquidity into the banking system as the global financial crisis has unfolded. The process should also be orderly as Brazil’s banking system remains solid, thanks to relatively low levels of lending and the fact little credit is sourced overseas.

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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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Eric Farnsworth, Vice President of the Council of the Americas, has produced a special report for the October issue of Poder Magazine called Brazil Rising. In it Farnsworth says that the next US administration should necessarily work with the South American nation on matters such as trade negotiations, energy security and even Iran’s nuclear program.

“Virtually all the economic news coming out of Brazil these days is positive, and Brazil’s global weight has dramatically increased as a result. The largest economy in South America and now the world’s 10th largest, Brazil’s emergence as a middle-income BRIC nation, with powerful growth rates driven by the global commodities boom, have repositioned Brazil as a global actor”, he said. Here is a recent clip he also produced talking about Brazil:

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