US Good News Gives Brazil Markets a 6% Boost

Brazil's stock exchange Bovespa São Paulo, Brazil, is celebrating today its 454 birthday and for that reason Brazilian markets are closed for the week. After a jittery week controlled by the volatile global markets and the mortgage crisis in the United States, the Ibovespa, the main index of the Brazilian stock exchange Bovespa closed, yesterday, January 24, at 57,463 points, 5.95%, more than the previous day, the biggest increase since October 17, 2002 when it went up 6.3%. 

The Thursday's good performance was almost enough to wipe out the week's heavy losses. Still, the accumulated losses for the year are at 10%. Earlier the 2008 decline had already climbed to  15.9% in a little over two weeks. The dollar, on the other hand, lost 2.19% ending the week at 1.78 reais per dollar.

The Brazil risk went down falling to 249 points, 3.86% less than the previous day. The volume of stocks traded in the holiday's eve was 6.47 billion reais (US$ 3.59 billion), a little over the daily average traded during last year.

Brazilian were tuned to the  news coming from Washington. Word that the White House and the US Congress had reached an agreement on an incentive package of about US$ 150 billion was enough to dispel the bad vibes that had been haunting Brazil's stock market.

At least for one day the Brazilian market bought the idea that the American recession is a preventable disaster. Petrobras' preferential stock, the most traded Bovespa share, went up 7.01% reaching 76.74 reais (US$ 42.54). As for Vale, the second most active stock, it jumped 7.60% to 43.70 reais (US$ 24.23).

A study just released by the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) show that the 7.7% average increase of salaries in Brazil in the last four years wasn't enough to replace the losses workers had in 2002. 

In the second semester of 2007, the real average revenue of 1,141.92 reais (US$ 633.06) was 4.9% lower than at the same period of 2002 (1,200.19 reais – US$ 665.37), in spite of being in a recovery process. IBGE economist Cimar Azeredo recalled that there was a recession in 2003, which lasted throughout 2003 and went up to the first semester of 2004.

"That recession process significantly lowered the population's purchase power and upset the labor market. Since 2004, little by little, the market has been undergoing a reorganization and recovery process, but without managing to reach the level of 2002," said Azeredo, adding that there's an expectation that, in the coming years, the country will manage to recover from all these losses.

The IBGE's Monthly Job Research shows that in 2007 Brazil had a 9.3% unemployment rate, the lowest in the last five years. The study also indicates that the number of people with formal jobs in the private sector went from 39.7% in 2003 to 42.4% last year. He attributes this improvement in the job scene to the economy's good performance.

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