Brazil Outlook Lowered to Negative by Moody's on Temer Probe

  • Nation’s rating affirmed at two levels below investment grade
  • Moody’s says Temer probe poses rising threat to recovery

Ian Bremmer Says Impeachment Likely Soon in Brazil

Brazil’s credit outlook was cut by Moody’s Investors Service, which said the corruption scandal ensnaring President Michel Temer poses a rising threat to the recovery of Latin America’s largest economy.

Moody’s reduced the nation’s outlook to negative from stable and kept its rating at two levels below investment grade at Ba2, according to a statement Friday. That’s a notch below Turkey and Russia. Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings rank Brazil at the same level.

"The risk of prolonged political uncertainty can’t be ruled out," Moody’s analyst Samar Maziad said in a phone interview. "There’s now a risk that the reforms could be stalled."

While the Temer administration’s ability to deliver on initial reforms came as a positive surprise, his agenda is now at risk as the odds of an impeachment or a resignation climb, according to Maziad. That includes plans to restore the sustainability of an overburdened social security system and increase business confidence.

Moody’s expects Brazil’s economy to grow 0.5 percent in 2017 after falling into its worst recession in a century last year. Maziad says the recovery may be at risk amid allegations that Temer paid off a witness in the Lava Jato corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff.

"This could lead to lower growth forecasts this year and next," she said. "Still, it’s unlikely there will be a double-dip recession or contraction."

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