Brazil bankers, investors worry about Bolsonaro's effect on capital markets revival

FILE PHOTO: Traders work at Necton brokerage in Brazilian stock exchange in Sao Paulo, Brazil March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Bankers and portfolio managers worry that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s latest policy moves may undermine the country’s recent capital markets revival.

Bolsonaro moved to replace the chief executive of state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro and vowed to reduce prices in the energy sector, two announcements that hammered Brazilian markets on Monday. The downturn threatens a rally that has had companies lining up to raise capital.

Securities industry watchdog CVM is analyzing 33 Brazilian companies’ requests for initial public offerings, more than those that made their debut during the whole of 2020.

Concern about increased political risk in Brazil could make pricing of the next wave of offerings tougher, according to the equity capital markets head at one of the country’s most active investment banks.

“It will surely get worse, but how much will be clearer within days”, the banker said, asking for anonymity to speak frankly on Bolsonaro’s recent statements. A new wave of IPO pricings, for companies such as agricultural company Agrogalaxy, is expected for early March.

A portfolio manager for a Brazilian asset management firm said that if Bolsonaro doubles down on threats to intervene in the economy more, the pipeline of capital markets deals may largely evaporate. But investors may calm down if Bolsonaro takes no further unorthodox measures.

A second portfolio manager added there is “no doubt” that if Bolsonaro continues to interfere in the economy it may roil capital markets.

So far this year, Brazil has had 21 share offerings, of which 13 were IPOs and the rest, follow-on offerings. The total raised was $5.3 billion, whereas last year, equity offerings totaled $28.3 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

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