Are currency depreciation processes expansionary or contractionary in Brazil? An assessment of the effect of private sector foreign exchange mismatch


ABSTRACT This paper deals with the evolution of the currency mismatch in the Brazilian economy in the last two decades, with the aim of assessing the vulnerability of the economy to an exchange rate devaluation, through the balance sheet effect. We highlight the deep changes in the structure of the Brazilian external liabilities during that period. The main change was the radical fall in the net external debt, which turned from highly positive to negative. However, this reflects only the public sector position, since private external debt remained highly positive. To go further into our analysis, we subtracted the hedge operations through derivatives contracts from the primary currency mismatch. We then arrived at the conclusion that not only the effective private sector currency mismatch is quite lower than could be thought by looking only at the International Investment Position data, but also that it has diminished substantially in the last 5 years. Therefore, the risk of an important balance sheet effect as a consequence of a devaluation is lower than currently estimated.