Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Brazil’s Economy: Wild horses

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on April 20, 2011

by The Economist, April 20th, 2011.

A soaring currency is complicating the battle against inflation

Inflation is at 6.3% and is poised to break through the ceiling of the Central Bank’s target of 2.5-6.5% for the first time since it was adopted in 2006. That is despite the currency surging to 1.58 reais to the dollar, close to its peak since it was allowed to float in 1999—and much stronger than either the government or industry would like. All this means that monetary policy in Brazil is attempting to tame two wild horses at the same time. The Central Bank has already raised its benchmark rate by three percentage points over the past year, to 11.75%, with another 0.25-0.50 points expected from its monetary-policy committee on April 20th as The Economist went to press. But as the bank admitted in its latest quarterly inflation report, it does not now expect to bring inflation back to its central 4.5% target by the end of 2011. The economic cost, it said, would be “too high”.

The difficulty for the Central Bank is that each rise in interest rates—already the highest of any big economy—makes Brazil more attractive to footloose foreign capital. In the first three months of 2011 it saw net inflows of $35 billion, more than in the whole of 2010. That pushes up the currency, which is not directly the monetary-policy committee’s concern, and throws fuel on an overheated economy, which is.

To try to curb inflation without boosting the real further, the bank is resorting to what central bankers call “macroprudential measures”, such as higher bank reserve-requirements. The finance ministry has chipped in by raising taxes on consumer credit, foreign bond issues, and on overseas loans and derivatives’ margins. Without such measures, says the finance minister, Guido Mantega, the real would be at 1.4 to the dollar. (continue reading… )


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: