Conclusion: We’re short Chilean equities ahead of consensus coming around to our intermediate-term outlook for the slope of both Chilean domestic growth and global growth – negative.
While the sell-side runs around like a chicken with their heads cut off recommending buying everything Emerging Markets after they’ve been tagged for the last 3-6 months, we’ll stick to the script until it changes: Growth Slowing as Inflation Accelerates. Of course there will be plenty of buying opportunities once our call gets fully priced into global equity markets; for now, however, we don’t think consensus is in the area code of Bearish Enough.
Much like the US, Chile is one economy where consensus gets the “accelerating inflation” component of the thesis, which is highlighted by the Chilean Central Bank being the most hawkish in the world over the last year, raising rates +350bps in response to CPI accelerating from +0.3% YoY in Feb ’10 to +2.7% YoY in Feb ’11.
The central bank’s recent acceleration of rate increases (from +25bps to +50bps increments) actually caught 19 of 22 forecasting economists off guard, particularly given that they tightened in the face of Japan’s crisis despite Japan being Chile’s second-largest export market. Taking their cue from the central bank, consensus’ CPI forecasts for 2011 are on the rise of late:
Of course there may be a time over the next year(s) when increased Japanese demand for raw materials is bullish for Chilean Exports, but for now, we will avoid the rookie trap of Duration Mismatch and play the game in front of us, which is one of slowing growth. To be specific, we expect Chilean GDP growth to top out in 1Q and rollover substantially through the end of the year alongside waning global growth fueled by structurally lower levels of Chinese, European, and US demand. Difficult comparisons in 2H11 augment this view.
Lastly, Chilean equities remain broken from a TRADE & TREND perspective and today’s rally up to another lower-high coincidentally closed just under our immediate-term TRADE line of resistance – a ripe shorting opportunity indeed.