Exclusive: Chanos takes profit on his top 2014 short sale - Brazil

Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:30pm EDT
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By Luciana Lopez and Sam Forgione

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hedge fund manager Jim Chanos, the prominent short-seller, said Tuesday he has lightened up on some of his bets against Brazil, saying most of the country's downside risk is priced in after the sharp selloff over the past two months.

"Yes, we are still short but we've taken some profits," Chanos said, speaking at a Reuters summit. "I think we'd be crazy not to."

Brazilian stocks have been hammered over worries about the country's presidential election, which incumbent Dilma Rousseff narrowly won on Sunday.

Her victory sent shares plunging as investors fretted about the leftist president.

Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index .BVSP has slid more than 18 percent from early September through its close on Monday. The index is heavily weighted toward miner Vale (VALE5.SA: Quote) and state-run oil company Petrobras(PETR4.SA: Quote) .

"I think a lot of it is priced in already now" in Latin America's biggest economy, he said to Reuters.

"I wouldn't be jumping wholeheartedly into the Brazil (short) trade here," he said. Nevertheless, he added that he remains short on "a lot of things in Brazil."

Chanos, who specializes in making money when stock prices decline and first cemented his reputation as a short seller with bets against Enron, is the founder of Kynikos Associates.   Continued...

Kynikos Associates LP Founder and Managing Partner Jim Chanos speaks during the Reuters 2014 China Summit in New York, October 28, 2014.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid