Brazilian stocks will keep slogging through a year that is shaping up as their worst since the global financial crisis of 2008 due to concerns over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on local companies, a Reuters survey showed.
In the most likely scenario, the benchmark Bovespa stock index would close this year 22.4% lower than at the end of 2019, further scarring Latin America's No.1 economy, already hit by a recession of historic proportions.
Only three months ago, Brazilian stocks were expected to rise 16.7% in 2020. The Bovespa is down 25.9% so far in the year, on its way to ending a four-year rally that was supported lately by President Jair Bolsonaro's reform plans.
The index is forecast to finish 2020 at 89,700 points, according to the median estimate of 14 strategists and analysts polled May 12-26. Forecasts from 74,792 to 100,000 points implied potential annual losses in the range of 13.5%-35.2%.
The median view would deliver a gain of 4.7% on local equities compared to Monday's closing values, which were still weak even after the index climbed 34.7% from a nearly three-year low in March at the apex of the virus panic.
"With the economy re-opening, the Bovespa can follow a global upward movement but the rise will be mitigated by local political risk," said Ilan Arbetman, an equity research analyst from Ativa Investimentos in Río de Janeiro.
Brazilian stocks have lagged Wall Streets turnaround, fueled by hopes of a quick normalization in U.S. activity. Investors in Brazilian assets remain on edge in the face of persistent turmoil within the government over policy.
The country lost its second health minister in a month after Bolsonaro demanded wider use of unproven anti-malarial drugs to fight the coronavirus in one of the pandemic's worst global hotspots.
Corporate balance sheets have yet to reflect the full impact of quarantine steps adopted mostly in April.