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Brazil's banks prepare to fly in 2019

Multiple positive factors point to outperformance of Brazil’s banks in EM, but pensions reform risks remain.


Brazilian banks fared very well during the country’s recession – little wonder, then, that analysts expect the cyclical recovery to power years of outperformance within emerging markets.

UBS’s financial analyst Philip Finch believes that a potent mix of stronger than-expected-loan growth, improving net interest margins (as the country’s base rate, Selic, rises), a falling cost of risk (if pensions reform is passed) and improved efficiency ratios from branch rationalization will improve the profitability of Brazil’s leading banks.


Philip Finch, UBS 

Floating all these specific boats is the cyclical recovery of the Brazilian economy that should come this year. These strong numbers are based on expected growth of 3% (rebounding from a small recovery of 1.5% in 2018 and 0.5% in 2017 and a deep recession between 2014 and 2016).

As Finch notes, pensions reform is the key variable. All of the projections of 3%-plus growth are based upon the new administration of president Jair Bolsonaro being able to pass meaningful reform – and there have been encouraging noises that the new administration is making this social security reform a priority.

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