Shares of the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWZ) are off 1.6% Wednesday. That is nothing to brag about but that showing by the largest Brazil ETF on a day when Petrobras (NYSE: PBR), one of EWZ’s largest holdings, is plunging is arguably encouraging.
Petrobras, Brazil’s state-run oil company, has seen its American depositary receipts slide 9.5% today after the company said its third-quarter earnings fell 8.8% to $1.18 billion. The company also declined to put a price tag on a widening corruption probe, testing the nerves of already skittish shareholders. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is at the forefront of the Petrobras probe.
It is now widely known that Rousseff had ample opportunity to stop graft at Petrobras, which via two securities combines for almost 7% of EWZ’s weight, and ignored the problem. [Petrobras Pushes Brazil ETF Lower]
“A Reuters review of a 2009 federal investigation of Petrobras, and interviews with those who conducted it, indicates Rousseff missed opportunities to stop the graft before it erupted into a crisis so big it could push Brazil’s slow-growing economy back into recession next year,” Reuters reported.
“The state-controlled oil company at the center of Brazil’s biggest ever kickback scandal, failed to reach an agreement on the amount of corruption -related writedowns. Petrobras’ board met for more than 7 hours Tuesday without agreeing on impairments,” said Rareview Macro founder Neil Azous in a note out earlier today.
Rousseff served as Petrobras chairwoman from 2003 to 2011.Shares of Petrobras have fallen almost 40% over the past 90 days while EWZ has shed 11.3% over that period. More recently, the Brazil ETF has shown some temerity in the face of Petrobras weakness. Including today’s decline, EWZ is down just 0.16% over the past month compared to a loss of nearly 7% for Petrobras. [Bad Sequel: LatAm ETFs off to Rough Starts in 2015]