By Tim Seymour
The big banks are already ratcheting their growth targets lower for Brazil after the country’s less than spectacular GDP numbers came in yesterday.
JPMorgan, for one, now expects overall Brazilian economic growth to clock in at only 4.0% in 2011 — well below the record 7.5% that the country posted last year.
Industrial names are outperforming thanks to the strong real and form a main component of JPM’s less bullish case if that continues.
And since finance minister Guido Mantega has called 7.5% growth "excessive," it is likely that the government will be content with a much lower number this year as it juggles austerity and interest rates.
The domestic economy is still heating up fast — consumption is up 10% just over the last quarter — but while that may ultimately be good for the Brazilian consumer ETF BRAQ , the large-cap and export-oriented EWZ ETF may not be a solid outperformer in this environment:
Maybe austerity measures will curb inflation — but if not, Brazil may be looking at the worst of both worlds in terms.