S&P Latin America Equity Indices Commentary: Q2 2022
Following a stellar Q1 in which the S&P Latin America BMI jumped 25%, the regional equity market fell back to Earth as second-quarter losses more than offset first-quarter gains. However, the region remained a relatively bright spot compared to global equities more broadly, as the S&P Latin America BMI was only down 3.5% YTD compared with losses of around 20% YTD for the S&P 500 and S&P Global BMI.
Global inflation concerns, rising interest rates in the U.S., the Russia-Ukraine war and political uncertainty with new governments in Chile, Peru and, most recently, Colombia have finally caught up with the region. In addition, Brazil, the largest market in Latin America, will be holding presidential elections this year, contributing to further uncertainty.
From a country perspective, Chile had the best returns in Q2, with the flagship S&P IPSA gaining nearly 0.30% in CLP. The broader Chilean index, the S&P/CLX IGPA, did better with a 3.1% return for the same period. All other markets, in local currency, had negative returns for Q2.
No sector was unscathed in Q2. It is interesting to note that while Health Care (-42.1%), Consumer Discretionary (-40.0%) and I.T. (-39.1%) were the worst performers, they were not necessarily the main contributors to the quarterly losses. It’s more likely that sectors with large representation in the region, such as Financials, Materials and even Consumer Staples, which were down 25.3%, 21.0% and 13.8%, respectively, had the most significant impact on the downturn of the equity market.
Similarly, most of the losses were driven by Brazilian and Mexican companies, which together represent about 88% of the S&P Latin America BMI. The top 10 index constituents accounted for nearly one-third of the Q2 index decline. Brazilian companies Vale S.A., B3 S.A. and Itau Unibanco had the most significant impact on the index.
Though it is perhaps not surprising that the markets have taken a turn for the worse given the local political turmoil, rising inflation, the Russia-Ukraine war and the lingering effects of COVID-19, it is still disappointing to see the markets drop this sharply. While there is no telling where the bottom may be, volatility is likely to continue. Let’s hope the next turn will be an upswing.