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By
Reuters
Published
Mar 11, 2010
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Brazil yields tick up on retail data, rate view

By
Reuters
Published
Mar 11, 2010

SAO PAULO, March 11 (Reuters) - Yields on Brazilian interest rate futures contracts ticked higher on Thursday 11 March, as strong January retail sales data fueled expectations of a rate hike in the near future.



The yield on the contract due April 2010 DIJJ0 inched up to 8.804 percent from 8.765 percent. The yield on the contract due January 2011 DIJF1 edged to 10.49 percent from 10.46.

Retail sales in Brazil surged 2.7 percent in January from the previous month, topping analysts' forecasts as consumers rushed to buy appliances and benefit from government tax breaks, government data showed on Thursday 11 March. For more see .

Government figures also showed that the country's economy grew 2 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months.

"The (GDP) numbers came in close to what had been expected, neither much better nor much worse," said Roberto Padovani, chief Brazil strategist at WestLB in Sao Paulo. "The surprise is in retail sales, the number is very strong. It will pressure interest rate futures."

Expectations for a rate hike in coming weeks have grown as the recovery in Brazil's economy generates inflation pressure.

Central bank policymakers use an inflation target -- set at 4.5 percent, plus or minus 2 percentage points, in 2010 -- as a guide in setting rates.

The central bank's monetary policy committee meets next week to consider changes to the benchmark interest rate, the Selic, currently at a record-low 8.75 percent.

But some analysts see a rate hike likelier in April than March.

With last year's stimulus measures, including tax breaks on home appliances, expiring, retail figures could level off, Benito Berber of RBS Securities wrote in a research report.

He kept his view that the central bank will hike rates in April.

STOCKS SEESAW

Brazilian stocks seesawed in early trading, dipping into and out of positive territory.

The benchmark Bovespa stock index .BVSP was last up 0.17 percent at 70,096.23, on track to add to a two-day run of highs.

Stocks in the United States, the world's largest economy, also slipped in the morning after data showed U.S. weekly jobless claims fell less than expected and Chinese consumer inflation jumped to a 16-month high in February.

Brazil's currency, the real (BRBY), weakened 0.11 percent to 1.774 per dollar as the greenback saw volatile trading.

On the Bovespa, mining company Vale (VALE5.SA) led losses, moving down 1.3 percent to 46.45 reais. That stock has recently been trading near highs last seen in June 2008.

The company said in a securities filing it plans to sell a benchmark sized bond, meaning at least $500 million, denominated in euros, raising funds for general corporate purposes. Vale hired BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, HSBC and Santander to manage the sale, but gave no details on terms of the proposed bond offer.

Banks stocks were mixed. Itau Unibanco (ITUB4.SA), Brazil's largest private-sector bank, gained 0.29 percent to 38.01 reais. Bradesco (BBDC4.SA) slipped 0.03 percent to 31.97 reais. Banco do Brasil (BBAS3.SA), Latin America's largest bank by assets, moved down 0.43 percent to 30.07 reais.

Limiting losses, retailers and consumer goods companies gained on the January sales data. Lojas Americanas (LAME4.SA) added 1.1 percent to 13.58 reais, cosmetics company Natura (NATU3.SA) rose 1.6 percent to 34.80 reais and B2W (BTOW3.SA) put on 2.7 percent to 41.26 reais. (Reporting by Luciana Lopez; Additional reporting by Raymond Colitt and Elzio Barreto; Editing by Padraic Cassidy )

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