SAO PAULO (Reuters) – President Dilma Rousseff promised on Monday to make changes to her economic policies as she sought to build bridges with business leaders after narrowly winning re-election at the end of an acrimonious campaign.
Rousseff said in television interviews the changes would be announced next month after broad discussions with industrial and financial leaders, and that they would include reforming Brazil’s onerous tax system.
“I will try to make the changes and reforms that the country needs,” Rousseff said in an interview with TV Record. She also said she will soon pick a new finance minister but did not go into detail on the reforms or who she might choose.
Rousseff, 66, won a second term by a slim margin on Sunday, overcoming dissatisfaction with a sluggish economy and poor public services and dashing the hopes of investors who had bet on her centrist pro-business challenger, Aecio Neves.
The victory, driven by strong support among Brazil’s poor, met with cold reality on Monday as Brazil’s financial markets tumbled.
The benchmark Bovespa stock index fell five per cent in early trade and closed 2.72 per cent lower while the real currency ended at 2.52 per dollar, its weakest level since April 2005. Both had already seen heavy losses in recent sessions as Rousseff took a lead in polls.
Shares of state-run companies whose profits have suffered under Rousseff plunged on Monday. That included a more than 12 per cent drop for scandal-plagued oil giant Petroleo Brasileiro SA, its biggest one-day decline in nearly six years.
Rousseff vowed “not leave a stone unturned” in getting to the bottom of a corruption scandal at Petrobras, and punish those found responsible.
She said confidence would return because Brazil’s economy is still attractive and has $376 billion in international reserves. “We have to wait for markets to calm down and they will.”