Balance of Payment Crisis

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Transcript Balance of Payment Crisis

Brazil 1998-1999
What is Balance of P. C.
When a country that has a large budget
deficit, it has difficulty maintaining a
fixed exchange rate, ultimately facing a
balance of payments crisis.
 This means that foreign exchange
reserves are falling rapidly, or are being
maintained only by a level of foreign
“Four Zones of Economic Discomfort”
Brazil has been located in Zone 3 for many years, with varying degrees of
underemployment and current account deficits.
Brazil in the 1990s
After a decade of inflation rates ranging from
100% - 3,000% per year (1984-1994), Brazil’s
central bank made an effort during the 1990s to
control inflation and public spending.
- Inflation dropped from an annual rate of 2,669% in 1994 to 10% in 1997
1994 – Brazil government reissued the ‘real’ and instituted
a crawling peg
The real was initially pegged to the US Dollar, which allowed Brazil’s currency to
crawl upward against the $ at a moderate rate.
Brazil in the 1990s (cont)
The new currency, combined with high interest
rates stabilized inflation for the first time in
decades but…
 ..there were bank failures and unemployment all over the
 Unemployment climbed from a low 6% in 1988 to 14% a decade
 Due to high interest rates, investors dumped money into the
Brazilian economy at extraordinary rates.
 The real now faced real appreciation.
○ The rate of crawl of the exchange rate < (Brazilian inflation – Foreign inflation)
Brazil in the 1990s (cont)
1997 - Foreign direct investment (FDI) grew
by 140% over the year before.
 The table below shows the rapid increase in FDI and international
Brazil in the 1990s (cont)
1998 - Investors expected Brazil’s central bank to
eventually devalue the real.
Over the previous two years (98-99) the central
bank was able to use its foreign exchange
reserves to prevent the currency from drastically
○ In an effort to slow the outward flow of capital, the central bank raised
interest rates.
○ Between 1996 and 1998, Brazil’s international reserves dropped by
$24 billion or 40%.
The IMF (International Monetary Fund) provided a
$41.5 billion loan in 1998 to help Brazil defend its
○ But markets remained hopeless and the plan failed.
Current Account & Reserves
In addition, Brazil was running consistent current account deficits starting in
 As seen in the table below, Brazil started depleting its reserves in 1997 and
1998 to finance the current account deficit.
Brazil in the 1990s (cont)
1999 - Brazil owed $244 billion (46% of GDP) to
foreign creditors.
 Despite efforts to raise taxes and control government spending,
Brazil’s yearly governmental budget deficits remained in the 67% range throughout the 1990s.
The current account was in deficit, exchange rate
reserves were declining, and unemployment
reached its highest level in over a decade.
January 1999 - The central bank decided to
devalue the real by 8% and allowed it to float so it
would no longer be pegged to the U.S. dollar. By
the end of the month, the real depreciated 66%
against the U.S. dollar.
Devaluation of the real
Soon after the real depreciated its value,
recession followed as Brazil’s government
struggled to keep the real from losing its worth.
Luckily, inflation did not rise.
 The recession diminished as Brazil’s export
competitiveness was renewed and investors slowed their
withdrawal from the real, resulting in;
○ Increase in the money supply
○ Increase in reserves
○ Interest rates lowered
Waiting to happen
Brazil’s actual economic data leading up to the
devaluation is consistent with the balance of
payments crisis model;
 rapid expanding current account deficit
 constant government spending
 The Russian Financial Crisis in 1998
Russia’s 1998 default on its debt had international investors in panic. Investors
that previously had confidence in Brazil’s economy suddenly lost faith in the
government’s ability to maintain the real’s crawling peg.
The B.O.P. crisis model is the best way to analyze
Brazil’s devaluation. In all, investors had good
reason to believe that the central bank could no
longer maintain the crawling peg.
The DD-AA Model
The DD-AA Model
This model assumes an initial starting point at full
employment (point 1); however, with an
unemployment rate above 14% in 1997 and 1998,
it is likely that Brazil’s output was well below full
With IMF support it is possible that Brazil could
have avoided devaluation.
 In addition to building reserves, the central bank may have hoped that
the devaluation would increase output to full employment levels.
The Aftermath
While currency devaluation might help a country improve its
CA deficits and return the economy to full employment, there
are some negative aspects;
Brazil’s large public debt held in U.S. dollars was instantly increased
with the depreciation.
 Once the real was devalued, the central bank lost its credibility and had
little choice but to form some sort of floating rate.
Which makes it difficult to revert back to a fixed rate system that only functions if
investors trust the central bank and become less risk averse.
 The devaluation also tensed relations with neighboring countries like
Argentina who are deeply affected by Brazil’s economic policy.
On the positive side, each year since the devaluation, the
current account has improved and in 2003 it was positive for the
first time since the early 1990s.
Looking at Latin America’s unstable economic history, it’s
obvious that a fixed exchange rate was not the only cause of
Brazil’s economic woes of the 1990s, nor is a floating exchange
rate going to fix all of Brazil’s economic issues.
Under this floating rate system, the government will now be
tempted to print money freely in order to pay off debt. Inflation is
the primary reason that Brazil adopted a crawling peg in the first
 Instead the Brazilian government must control its public debt and budget
deficit spending.
Recently Brazil’s government has taken spending
more seriously.
 In 2005 foreign debt was at its lowest point since 1997
 In addition, the 2004 budget deficit was at a low 3% of GDP.
 Brazil has also managed to keep their exchange rate under
Low inflation
○ disciplined fiscal policy
○ a floating exchange rate
 Although Brazil still has budget deficits and owes a sizeable
amount to creditors, the country has taken steps toward more
stable economic policy. Brazilians can only hope that these
policies lead to economic growth for Latin America’s largest