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How Brazil’s Manufacturing Activity Is Affecting Equity Markets

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Brazil’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index

According to Markit Economics, Brazil’s manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers’ index) improved in March, rising to 53.4 from 53.2 in February. It beat the market estimate of 53 and marked the second-fastest improvement since January 2013.

Brazil’s March manufacturing PMI was mostly driven by the following factors:

  • Production output and volume rose at a faster rate.
  • New business and export orders rose at a faster pace.
  • Job growth in the manufacturing sector rose at a higher rate.
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Performance of major ETFs in March

The iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (EWZ), which tracks Brazil’s (FBZ) economy, fell 1.3% in March, and the Direxion Daily MSCI Brazil Bull 3X ETF (BRZU) fell 5.9%. Major ETFs’ and equity markets’ fall was mainly due to global sell-offs amid growing trade war concerns.

Consumers’ purchasing activity also improved in March, marking the biggest improvement since February 2011. Inflationary pressure improved as the cost of oil, energy products, and some raw materials improved. Better commodity prices boosted Brazil’s economic activity. In the next part of this series, we’ll analyze Brazil’s service PMI in March.

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