After a steep sell-off in the Brazilian real, Brazil’s central bank has taken a more hands-on approach, potentially supporting the country’s currency and equities markets, along with related exchange traded funds.
The WisdomTree Brazilian Real ETF (NYSEArca: BZF) fell 1.7% over the past month while the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWZ) declined 4.5%. Year-to-date, BZF is up 7.8% and EWZ is 3.6% higher. [Brazil ETF Tests Short-Term Trend on Increased Uncertainty]
After the Brazilian real depreciated 1.5% against the U.S. dollar Monday, the central bank stated that it will double the volume of swaps it offers for rollover, derivatives that provide investors with a hedge against currency weakness, reports Delphine Strauss for the Financial Times.
“It’s a difficult, delicate moment… the last thing they want now is for the currency to sell off,” Gustavo Rangel, an economist at ING, said in the Financial Times article.
Moreover, Brazil removed a 6% tax on short-term foreign loans Wednesday, lowering financing costs for local companies and banks, reports Alonso Soto for Reuters.
“I think it serves both purposes; the government reduces the cost of foreign financing and at the same time opens the door for more dollars to limit the depreciation (of the real),” Jankiel Santos, chief economist at Espirito Santo Investment Bank, said in the Reuters article.
Brazil has been suffering from a surge in inflationary pressure left over from last year. The elevated inflation levels weigh on domestic consumption and dragged on the economy earlier this year. Inflation, though, has slowed but remains near 6.5%, the top of the central bank’s official target range.