On August 10, 2000, within a space of two hours, Brazil sold $9.3 billion in stocks and bonds, mostly to foreign investors, which represents the strongest sign yet that investors have regained confidence in Brazil after last year´s currency devaluation.
Out of said amount, Brazil raised $4.1 billion in the sale of a 28 % voting stake in state-owned oil company Petrobrás SA. Two hours later, it sold $5.2 billion in 40-year bonds, its longest maturity ever sold, in a swap for outstanding debt.
The stock and bond sales set several precedents. In addition to the bond being the longest maturity sold by Brazil, the swap is the biggest ever in emerging markets. The sale of Petrobrás stock is the biggest sale of a non-controlling stake in a Latin American company, according to the banks that managed the sales.
Brazil is winning back investors by shaving its bloated budget deficit, driving it down to 47.5 billion reais ($26.5 billion) from over 100 billion reais early last year. The deficit reduction has helped shore up the currency, which has been little changed against the dollar this year, after losing a third of its value last year.
Halting the currency´s slide after the devaluation, prevented an inflation spiral, and helped bring down domestic interest rates by more than half, which is fuelling a fasten economic recovery. The economy, now entering its fourth quarter of expansion, is expected to grow by at least 4 percent annually over the next three years.
After pumping an average of $2.3 billion a month of direct investment into the country in the first half, investors poured in $5.1 billion in July, the highest monthly total since the devaluation, according to government´s reports.
Brazil´s Gross Domestic Product grew 3.84% in the first half of this year compared to the same period during 1999, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), a government-run research institute.
During this period the GPD was boosted mainly by an expansion of 6.45% in agricultural, an increase of 5% in the industrial, and growth of 2.96% in the services sectors. The agricultural sector showed expansion in farming (up 6.49%), vegetable extraction (up 8.55%), and livestock production (up 6.28%).
As for the industry sector, leading segments included transformation (up 6.45%), mineral extraction (up 7.53%), public utilities (up 5.48%), and construction (up 1.91%). In services, the highlight was telecommunications with an expansion 14.06%.
The São Paulo Stock Exchange (Bovespa), and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) signed a co-operation agreement on August 07, 2000, in a move intended to boost equity trading in both markets.
According to this agreement, the bourses will exchange information on assets traded both on Bovespa and LSE, including details such as trading suspension, regulations and trading volume. Each stock exchange will be required to make available, at regular times, data pertaining to the activity in their respective markets.
The agreement was completed in London, by Ian Salter, LSE´s chairman, and Raimundo Magliano, Bovespa´s vice-president, and according to Bovespa´s information, it shall take effect in the next few months.