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Economics & Strategy – Economics: First

Ilan Goldfajn, who spent the past two years in second place, rises one rung to finish on top for the first time.

Ilan Goldfajn
Itaú BBA
First-place appearances: 1

Total appearances: 4

Analyst debut: 2010

Ilan Goldfajn, who spent the past two years in second place, rises one rung to finish on top for the first time. The São Paulo–based researcher has been with Itaú BBA since 2009, having worked previously as an economist with the International Monetary Fund; a deputy director of economic policy at Brazil’s central bank; and a portfolio manager at two asset management firms, Rio de Janeiro–based Gávea Investimentos and Ciano Investimentos Gestão de Recurso, which is headquartered in São Paulo. He holds three degrees in economics: a bachelor’s from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, a master’s from Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. These are tough times for Brazil, the 47-year-old observes. “The combination of high inflation and low growth is a challenge for economic policy,” Goldfajn says. “The global trend toward a strong dollar pushes the real to depreciate and pressures inflation to deviate further from the center of its target.” In early July the central bank raised its benchmark Selic interest rate by 50 basis points, to 8.5 percent, after government figures showed that consumer prices in June had climbed at an annualized rate of 6.7 percent — well above the bank’s 4.5 percent target — and in late July the Ministry of Finance cut its 2013 real gross domestic product growth forecast from 3.5 percent to 3 percent. Investors can expect even higher rates and slower expansion because the government has no option but to fight inflation, Goldfajn adds. One money manager points to the economist’s prescience in predicting moves by the central bank. “He correctly called for additional rate cuts in Brazil through most of 2012, leaving him with below-consensus Selic projections for the period,” this client recalls. “And he was among the first to project a structural decline in the primary budget balance.”— Carolyn Koo


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