BRASILIA (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to keep the pace of its monetary stimulus unchanged this week could make it easier for emerging market countries like Brazil to sell global bonds, Schroders Plc fund manager James Barrineau told Reuters on Friday.
Barrineau, the New York-based co-head of Schroders’ emerging market debt and director for Latin America, expects the region’s largest economy to make a second foray into bond markets this year on renewed appetite among global investors for higher-yielding emerging-market paper.
The Fed’s surprise decision to delay the tapering of its asset-purchasing program offered emerging-market countries a reprieve from a capital exodus that had clouded the prospects for sovereign debt sales.
“No tapering certainly makes it easier,” said Barrineau, whose helps manage $1.89 billion in emerging market debt, in a phone interview. “Brazil could absolutely access markets, but everyone will have to pay higher prices than a year ago.”
He added that markets would be interested in Brazilian bonds linked to infrastructure projects, but the new instruments would need to amass more liquidity in order to take off.
The Brazilian government’s reduced financing needs abroad led to a less intense bond issuance in recent years, though some investors have speculated that more offerings may come as the country’s current account deficit jumped to the widest levels in a decade. Yet, issues of 10-year global government bonds in dollars and reais aimed to help the nation’s companies tap international bond markets - usually government bonds provide a benchmark to corporate debt.
The yields on Brazil’s 10-year global bonds have tumbled to nearly two-month lows following the Fed’s decision on Wednesday. A lower yield makes Brazil more willing to issue debt, some officials say, as it means the government will likely pay lower interest on new paper. The heightened volatility created by the expected withdrawal of U.S. monetary stimulus stymied Brazil’s plans to sell debt in September, but officials have spoken of at least another dollar-denominated debt issuance this year.
Still, Barrineau warns that President Dilma Rousseff needs to reassure investors that her government will keep its finances under control to prevent a rating downgrade.
“The key issue for Brazil is fiscal credibility,” Barrineau said. “There is still an overhang of fear that Brazil could be downgraded by credit agencies and that is a big issue for investors.”
Standard & Poor’s has threatened to downgrade Brazil’s investment rating on growing worries over the country’s finances and below-par economic growth.
The government is likely to miss its key 2014 budget target, the primary surplus, by as much as 50 billion reais ($22 billion), delivering only about half its goal, estimates by Reuters and private economists show.
Barrineau said a package that assures fiscal stability ahead could help dispel investors’ “overly-pessimistic” views about the commodities powerhouse.
Brazil last issued debt abroad in May, raising $800 million in a reopening of its dollar-denominated global bonds due in 2023. The sale was overbooked and had a spread of 98 basis points above U.S. Treasuries, the smallest ever for Brazil.
(This story corrects spelling of Schroders in the headline)
Editing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Leslie Gevirtz