UPDATE 1-Morgan Stanley Latin America economist Newman retires

viernes 16 de mayo de 2014 10:25 GYT

(Adds details from spokeswoman in paragraph 3)

By Brian Winter

SAO PAULO May 16 (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley economist Gray Newman, one of the longest tenured and most respected followers of Latin America on Wall Street, is retiring, he said in a note to clients on Friday.

Newman, 55, covered Latin America for two decades, first from Mexico City and then from New York. As Morgan Stanley's chief economist for the region since 2000, he was a well-known figure in central banks and finance ministries and enjoyed unusual access for a foreigner.

Luis Arcentales, who has been with Morgan Stanley since 2001, and Arthur Carvalho, who has focused on Brazil with the firm since 2011, will be the company's new "co-heads" of Latin American economics, spokeswoman Lauren Bellmare said via e-mail.

In a volatile region that has often bedeviled prognosticators with its frequent financial crises and political turmoil, Newman got several key calls right.

In late 2002, as markets in Brazil worried over the imminent inauguration of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a onetime radical leftist, Newman not only predicted that the economy would prosper but that the currency would sharply strengthen.

Newman recalled a dinner in Brazil at which a client grabbed his business card and skeptically scrawled his target level for the currency - 2.80 reais per dollar - all over it.

The currency was nearing 4 per dollar at the time, and many analysts were predicting it would weaken further. But after Lula took office and embraced orthodox financial policies, the crisis dissipated and the real closed 2003 at 2.87 per dollar.   Continuación...