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Brazil and Argentina eye common currency similar to the euro, with Latin American nations invited to join

January 23, 2023

South America’s two largest economies have considered options to coordinate their currencies for decades, often to counter the influence of the dollar in the region.

The persistent macroeconomic imbalances of both countries, together with recurrent political obstacles to the idea, has resulted in little practical progress.

The latest negotiations were initiated by Buenos Aires, according to a Brazilian government official. They’re at a very early stage and there’s no deadline for completion, said the official, who asked not to be identified because the discussions aren’t public. Brazil’s agreement was no more than a nod for talks to take place, the person said. 

Argentina’s presidential spokeswoman did not immediately reply to a request for comment sent outside of business hours.

On the eve of a meeting Monday in Buenos Aires, Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Argentina’s Alberto Fernandez wrote a joint statement in Argentine newspaper Perfil noting that sharing their currencies could help boost regional trade. 

“We have the intention of overcoming barriers to our exchange, simplifying and modernizing the rules and promoting the use of local currencies. We also decided to advance discussion of a common South American currency that can be used for financial and commercial transactions, reducing operational costs and our external vulnerability,” the statement said.

The latest proposal comes as Argentina battles the highest inflation in over three decades and as many emerging markets seek alternatives to the strong US dollar. Brazil’s economy is set to post anemic growth this year, while Lula’s new administration plans to boost public spending significantly to meet his campaign pledges.

There haven’t been any discussions of a common currency for commercial transactions and the plan hasn’t included mention about a single currency for the whole region, said another official, from Brazil’s Finance Ministry, who asked not to be named.

Argentina Economy Minister Sergio Massa said Brazil and Argentina would invite other countries in Latin America to join, but he didn’t want to create any “false expectations” because trade integration would take a long time.-fortune

 

 

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Last modified on Monday, 23 January 2023 17:07