Rousseff’s Woes, Brazil ETFs’ Gains

In what may be the last day of noteworthy action in Brazilian equities prior to the start of the World Cup, shares of the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWZ) are up 3.3% Friday after another poll showed declining support for President Dilma Rousseff.

Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy holds national elections in October. “Rousseff’s support fell to 34 percent this month from 37 percent in May,” report Raymond Colitt and Anna Edgerton for Bloomberg, citing a Datafolha poll.

Combined, challengers to Rousseff, including Senator Aecio Neves and socialist Eduardo Campos, garnered 35% in the poll.

EWZ, the largest country-specific ETF tracking a Latin America economy, and other Brazil ETFs, have previously shown an intimate correlation to negative poll news for Rousseff. In late April, EWZ soared to its highest levels since November 2013 a poll from MDA showed Rousseff’s support dipped to 37% from almost 44% in February. [Brazil ETF Pops as Polls Show Rousseff Slumping]

News of the most recent decline in support for Rousseff comes after EWZ plunged 5% in the past month as local and global investors had become skittish about the flailing economy. The country posted first-quarter GDP growth of just 0.2% and is contending with high inflation.

Brazil’s central bank has hiked interest rates by 375 basis points to 11% to stave off a spike in inflation but the tighter monetary policy has pressured economic growth. Some market observers have speculated that if Rousseff does not win reelection, Brazilian interest rates are likely to decline. [Brazil ETFs Flail]