Wigmore Member Firm, Turim, share their Economic Report for April 2024.

The April Economic Report highlights interest rate movements in developed countries, impressive labor market data in Brazil, and the challenging scenario faced by the Real.

In April, Japan saw its first interest rate hike in almost two decades, contrasting with most of the rest of the world, which had raised interest rates significantly until last year and is now delivering (or planning to deliver) rate cuts. Meanwhile, the Swiss National Bank was the first among peers in major developed economies to initiate a cycle of interest rate cuts, possibly favoring similar movements in other regions.

In its March meeting, the Federal Reserve kept the US benchmark rate steady but made significant adjustments to its economic projections, signaling higher rates for longer. Moreover, the meeting minutes revealed that the vast majority of committee members wish to begin a slowdown in the pace of asset sales from the central bank’s balance sheet soon.

The interest rate market, which had converged to the expectations of the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee), reopened following robust data on economic activity, labor market, and inflation. Despite volatility, the US stock market maintained a positive performance in the first quarter, with contributions less concentrated in large technology companies due to improvements in other sectors such as energy.

In Brazil, recent labor market data continues to be impressive, with another month of strong net formal job creation in February, as indicated by Caged, and a historically low unemployment rate according to PNAD Contínua. Nevertheless, underlying services showed results below expectations in March’s IPCA, although they remain at elevated levels. Additionally, the National Treasury’s bi-monthly revenue and expenditure report revealed a comfortable result at the beginning of the year, postponing the need for budgetary contingencies.

On the other hand, the Brazilian stock market, represented by the Ibovespa, has faced challenges since the beginning of the year, with much of the negative performance coming from state-owned companies such as Petrobras and Vale. The fund industry stands out, delivering better results than the index in 2024. Meanwhile, the Real has been deteriorating, surpassing the 5 US$/R$ mark at the end of March and approaching 5.30 US$/R$ in mid-April, even after the additional foreign exchange swap auction announced by the Central Bank.