Over the past year, we have repeatedly said that the endgame for this particular episode in central bank stupidity will be when the Fed is dragged, kicking and screaming, into hiking the US inflation target (read this, this and this).
And while it will take at least a few more years before the Fed admits defeat – should it pause and/or pivot it will take far shorter – one place where a central bank inflation target increase is imminent, is Brazil.
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At some point Fed will concede it has no control over supply. That’s when we will start getting leaks of raising the inflation target
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) June 21, 2022
To be sure, Brazil is a bit of a basket case, having had its share of close encounters with terminal socialism, most recently in October when Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) defeated Bolsonaro to became president for a second time (and a first-ever third term) while promising all the irresistible delights of socialism, if not communism. And like every self-respecting socialist, Lula quickly figured out that what he needs first and foremost, is control over the central bank.
The problem, as everyone knows, is that giving access of a country’s money printer to a true-blue socialist is sovereign suicide, and in Brazil It took decades of cajoling and lobbying by the financial community to finally shield the central bank from political meddling.
So when President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, just three weeks into office, questioned the need for an autonomous central bank during a national TV interview last week, it didn’t go over well in markets… even if nobody was really surprised. Swap rates surged and the currency tanked following his remarks. Cabinet members entered the field and managed to halt the plunge that day, but the episode left many investors increasingly alarmed about a Lula presidency they are finding to be vastly different than the one that oversaw an economic boom back in the first decade of the new the century.
As Bloomberg notes, as part of his socialist overhaul, Lula has packed his economic team with “left-wing loyalists, lambasted fiscal rules and now, with his thinly veiled attack on central bank autonomy, taken a posture that raises doubts about the government’s commitment to quelling consumer prices increases in a country with a long history of nasty inflation outbreaks.” Which is ironic since so much of the US establishment was openly rooting for a grand ole socialist time under Lula and was so very happy when Bolsonaro lost by the narrowest of margins.