INSIGHT-Campaign donations highlight winners, losers in Brazil election
By Silvio Cascione and Brad Haynes
BRASILIA/SAO PAULO, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Brazil's financial markets have rallied on the prospect of environmentalist Marina Silva unseating President Dilma Rousseff in next month's election, but political donations show plenty of companies may be wary of a new administration.
Silva's market-friendly proposals promise relief for oil giant Petrobras, ethanol mills and private banks. But they could also cause headaches for a range of firms facing tougher competition, higher borrowing costs and maybe even more taxes, especially in the energy and auto industries.
Political fundraising reflects the split among potential winners and losers, with the vast majority of donations going to the incumbent - a reflection of powerful business interests comfortable with the status quo that Rousseff represents.
The money pouring into Brazil's stock market has gone in the opposite direction, driving up shares of companies that would benefit from a Silva presidency and lifting the Bovespa index as much as 11 percent when she first surged in polls.
"Right now in the investor community we're focused on just getting Dilma Rousseff out of office, but once Silva is in power it's a different ball game," said Aryam Vazquez, a senior economist with the Oxford Economics investment consulting firm.
Rousseff has drawn the most campaign donations from construction and agribusiness firms such as builder OAS and meatpacker JBS. Big names in the finance and ethanol industries such as Santander Brasil and Copersucar have thrown their support behind Silva, according to campaign finance data published this month by Brazil's electoral court.
Rousseff and the national committees of her Workers' Party have collected more than 185 million reais ($79 million), or about two thirds of political donations to the top three presidential candidates. Silva's Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) has collected over 34 million reais at the national level.
Aecio Neves, the candidate favored by many investors, has raised more than 71 million reais, mostly before Silva's surge in polls. But he is running in distant third place and is unlikely to make a runoff vote. Continuación...