Brazil industrial confidence kicks off Q2 at eight-month low - survey

FILE PHOTO: Employees fill boxes with ethanol-based hand sanitizers in AGE do Brasil factory, hired by brewing Ambev to produce hand sanitizers to donate to public hospitals during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Vinhedo, Brazil, March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

BRASILIA (Reuters) -Brazilian industrial confidence fell in April for a fourth month to its lowest since August, a survey showed on Thursday, depressed by a second COVID-19 wave and new lockdown measures in many states.

The Fundacao Getulio Vargas’s national industrial confidence index for April fell 1.1 points to a seasonally adjusted 103.1 from 104.2 in March, according to preliminary figures.

That is the lowest since August 2020, and a further slip from December’s 10-year high of 114.9.

A growing clutch of indicators - notably formal job growth and federal tax collection - suggest the economy is holding up against the second wave of the pandemic better than many had feared.

But industry is losing steam. The pace of expansion in the manufacturing sector slowed sharply in March to its slowest since June last year, according to IHS Markit’s latest purchasing manager index report.

The FGV’s industrial confidence survey on Thursday showed that the current conditions index fell 2.3 points to 109.1, the lowest since September, and the expectations index was unchanged on the month, also the same level as last August.

Slack in the industrial sector widened in March as capacity utilization fell 2.7 percentage points to 75.6%, the survey showed, the lowest since August.

Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Bernadette Baum