Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 27th 2014 Contents on financial markets was unclear,
analysts said. Some investors
could sell Brazilian assets because
of policies forcing them to hold
higher-quality stocks and bonds,
while others may focus on the
fact that S&P is unlikely to down-
grade Brazil any further.
S&P's move could prompt peers
Moody's Investors Service and
Fitch Ratings to signal they may
follow with a downgrade of their
"The natural tendency for mar-
kets tomorrow is the fear that
there could be a chain reaction
and other agencies may do the
same," said Ariovaldo Santos,
manager of floating-rate assets at
H Commcor in Sao Paulo.
Moody's and Fitch, which still
rate Brazil two notches into
investment-grade territory, have
indicated, however, they do not
intend to downgrade Brazil before
Rousseff's government has
worked to restore its credibility
on budget targets in recent
months, but investors are worried
that she will resort to more
unorthodox accounting moves and
raise spending as she seeks re-
The downgrade is unlikely to
undermine Rousseff's popularity
among voters, but potential rivals
blamed her management of the
economy for Brazil's fall from
grace on financial markets.
Opposition leader Aécio Neves
said the downgrade was due to
the "manipulation" of fiscal
accounts by her government,
"exorbitant" public spending and
"leniency" with inflation.
"Brazil is going through a sad
moment of loss of confidence and
ruined credibility," he said in a
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Standard & Poor's cut Brazil's sov-
ereign debt rating closer to speculative
territory on March 24 in a blow to
President Dilma Rousseff, whose
efforts to stir the economy from a
years-long slump have eroded the
Brazil had its long-term debt rating
downgraded to BBB minus, the
agency's lowest investment-grade rat-
ing. S&P changed its outlook to stable
from negative, meaning further down-
grades are unlikely for now, which will
come as a relief for both politicians in
Brasilia and financial markets.
The move was widely expected but
the timing surprised some investors.
As it came ahead of an October elec-
tion in which Rousseff will seek a sec-
ond term, the downgrade will expose
her left-leaning government to further
accusations that it has squandered the
goodwill built during a long economic
boom last decade.
Brazil has suffered from slow growth
that averaged about two per cent in
recent years. Rousseff has tried to
revive the economy with tax cuts and
social spending but has been widely
criticized for intervening too much
and resorting to sometimes opaque
accounting moves to meet budget tar-
"The downgrade reflects the com-
bination of fiscal slippage, the prospect
that fiscal execution will remain weak
amid subdued growth in the coming
years, a constrained ability to adjust
policy ahead of the October presiden-
tial elections, and some weakening in
Brazil's external accounts," S&P said.
The agency said that fiscal credibility
had been "systematically weakened"
following cuts in the government's
main budget target, and that loans by
state-run banks had "undermined pol-
icy credibility and transparency."
The Brazilian finance ministry
rejected S&P's arguments and said the
downgrade contradicted Brazil's solid
economic fundamentals and healthy
standing compared with other major
"The Brazilian economy has low
external vulnerability because it holds
the fifth largest volume of international
reserves among G20 nations," it said
in a statement.
The short-term effect of the move
S&P cuts Brazil credit rating in blow to Rousseff
Chile's new government has said it
will review plans for its biggest energy
project amid environmental concerns.
It said it would decide on the future
of the HidroAysen project within 60
Environmentalists say the huge proj-
ect, which would dam rivers in a remote
region of Patagonia in Chile's far south,
would ruin an area known for its wild
President Michelle Bachelet previ-
ously said the project was "not viable".
Chile is short of energy but corre-
spondents say most Chileans oppose
the hydropower project, a joint venture
by Spanish-owned energy company
Endesa and Chile's Colbun.
Its future has been uncertain for
months, with environmentalists staging
protests against the project and busi-
nesses looking to it as a fix for the
country's power needs.
The government said it will allow all
parties involved, including the local
communities, to make their arguments
in favour or against the plans before
issuing a final decision.
"Within the legal period of 60 days,
the Cabinet of Ministers will decide on
the merits of the matters that have
been challenged, in a comprehensive
way and in accordance with the law,"
Environment Minister Pablo Badenier
told a news conference in the Chilean
In January, a ministerial committee
requested additional studies on how
the project could affect the volume of
water in the rivers and a nearby gla-
It involves flooding about 6,000
hectares (15,000 acres) of land by build-
ing five dams on two fast-flowing rivers
that run into the Pacific: two on the
river Baker, and three on the river Pas-
Chile's Supreme Court ruled in favour
of the project in 2012, rejecting an
appeal by environmental groups.
But new Energy Minister Maximo
Pacheco called on the discussions about
Chile's energy not to be centred on
"The country knows that this is (just)
one project; we have to understand that
we have many others," he said.
Chile to review biggest
energy project plan
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