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Debt management in Brazil : evaluation of the Real Plan and challenges ahead

  • Economics


Brazil's domestic debt has posed two challenges to policymakers: it has grown very fast and, despite progress, remains extremely short in maturity. The authors analyze Brazil's experience with domestic public debt management, searching for policy prescriptions for the next few years. After briefly reviewing the recent history of the country's domestic debt, they decompose the large rise in federal bonded debt in 1995-98, searching for its macroeconomic causes. The main explanations: extremely high interest payments (caused by Brazil's weak fiscal stance and quasi-fixed exchange rate regime) and the accumulation of assets (especially obligations of Brazil's states). Simulations of the net debt path for the near future underscore the importance of a tighter fiscal stance to prevent the debt-to-GDP ratio from growing further. The authors'main policy advice is to foster and rely more on inflation-linked bonds--the least harmful way to lengthen debt maturity.

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