Latin Shares Hit By Worries High Oil Prices to Squeeze Globa
March 02, 2011
Latin American stocks are being pressured by global worries that high oil prices will squeeze economic growth around the world. Crude was last up 1.9% at $98.81 per barrel. Continuing turmoil in the Middle East sent petroleum prices up as investors focused on reports of increasing violence in Libya and other areas of the Middle East, with unrest in Iran gaining attention, the WSJ reports. Iranian security forces fired tear gas in clashes Tuesday with protesters demanding the release of opposition leaders, an opposition website reported, according to the WSJ. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke also noted that rising oil prices could hurt the economy. Brazil also felt a squeeze after the government announced plans Monday to reduce home financing. The government's Minha Casa, Minha Vida program, which boosts funding for low-income housing, will see about 5 billion Brazilian reais ($3 billion) in cuts as the government trims BRL50 billion from planned spending this year, the WSJ reports. This sent shares of homebuilders lower. Meanwhile, investors paid little attention to new sales of cars and light trucks in Brazil jumped 12.5% in February, setting a record for the month, a source familiar with the figures told Reuters on Tuesday. Sales in February were 258,914 units, compared with January's 230,225 units, said the source, who declined to be cited by name because the numbers are still private. Sales rose 22.5% from the year-earlier period, the source told Reuters. Brazil's Bovespa was last down 0.72% at 66,899.50 and Mexico's IPC down 0.22% at 36,937.10.