June 29, 2017 / 1:22 PM / a month ago

Reuters poll: Mexico stocks set to outperform Brazil as trade concerns fade

3 Min Read

BRASÍLIA (Reuters) - Mexican stocks are likely to reach an all-time high by the end of the year, outshining Brazilian equities as fears over rising trade barriers in the United States abates, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.

The survey of equity strategists highlights the reversal of fortunes this year for Latin American assets.

Mexican stocks already recovered all the value initially lost when U.S. President Donald Trump was elected in November. Meanwhile Brazilian equities, which gained over 40 percent since early 2016, have slipped in recent weeks as a political scandal threatens to remove President Michel Temer from office.

The latest poll consensus taken June 20-28 showed Mexico's benchmark S&P/BMV IPC index rising over 6 percent from Wednesday's close to a record high of 52,500 by the end of 2017, up from a forecast of 48,875 in a March poll.

The IPC index is forecast to advance even further in 2018, climbing to 53,650 despite uncertainty over a presidential election in which leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador appears as potential winner.

Analysts see lower chances for record-setting gains in Brazilian stock markets. Forecasts for the benchmark Bovespa index were down to 64,662 for the end of 2017, from 74,000 in March's poll, according to the poll.

The impressive rally in Brazilian equities had been fueled by hopes that Temer's austerity agenda would help the economy emerge from its worst recession on record.

Temer now faces a Supreme Court investigation, and the measures he proposed, including labor reform and an overhaul of the country's social security system, risk being shelved by Congress.

"It's been hard to forecast even the day (after) tomorrow," said Vitor Suzaki, an analyst with São Paulo-based brokerage Lerosa.

Corruption investigations against Temer and other sitting politicians and the general elections of 2018 were cited by analysts among the main risks ahead.

In Mexico, strategists were watching for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the U.S. -- the destination of more than 80 percent of Mexican exports.

Trump took power vowing a tougher line on trade to protect U.S. industry and jobs, but has refrained from simply terminating the trade pact. Formal talks between the United States, Canada and Mexico to start renegotiating the accord that took effect in 1994 are expected to begin around August.

Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo last month said there were "incentives" to wrap up the talks this year.

"Potential negative outcomes for NAFTA renegotiation could impact the equity market. However, this is not our base case scenario," Credit Suisse strategist Andrew Campbell said in a written response to the poll.

(For other stories from the Reuters global stock markets poll)

Additional reporting by Miguel Gutierrez in Mexico City and Flavia Bohone in São Paulo; Editing by Ross Finley and Chizu Nomiyama

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