Brazil’s revealed preferences about global governance

According to Bloomberg, Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega would like the real to stop appreciating and for the rest of the world to cooperate on currency matters: Brazil’s real dropped the most in two weeks after Finance Minister Guido Mantega raised taxes on foreign inflows for the second time this month to prevent appreciation and ...

According to Bloomberg, Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega would like the real to stop appreciating and for the rest of the world to cooperate on currency matters:

Brazil's real dropped the most in two weeks after Finance Minister Guido Mantega raised taxes on foreign inflows for the second time this month to prevent appreciation and protect exports from what he called a global "currency war."

Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, raised the so- called IOF tax on foreigners' investments in fixed-income securities to 6 percent from 4 percent. It also boosted the levy on money brought into the country to make margin deposits for transactions in the futures market to 6 percent from 0.38 percent…

According to Bloomberg, Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega would like the real to stop appreciating and for the rest of the world to cooperate on currency matters:

Brazil’s real dropped the most in two weeks after Finance Minister Guido Mantega raised taxes on foreign inflows for the second time this month to prevent appreciation and protect exports from what he called a global "currency war."

Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, raised the so- called IOF tax on foreigners’ investments in fixed-income securities to 6 percent from 4 percent. It also boosted the levy on money brought into the country to make margin deposits for transactions in the futures market to 6 percent from 0.38 percent…

"This currency war needs to be deactivated," Mantega told reporters. "We have to reach some kind of currency agreement.” …

Mantega cited the Plaza Accord of 1985, when governments agreed to intervene to devalue the U.S. dollar against the yen and the German deutsche mark, as the kind of agreement that might be required. International policy makers failed to narrow their differences on intervention in currency markets during the International Monetary Fund’s annual meeting this month.

Hey, you know, I bet the G-20 would be a decent forum for Mantega to foster this kind of cooperation. It’s a good thing that there’s a G-20 Finance Ministers meeting this weekend in Seoul. 

Wait, what’s this Dow Jones story saying?

Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega will not attend a meeting of Group of 20 member-country finance officials in South Korea this week, a Finance Ministry spokesman said Monday.

The spokesman said Mantega would remain in Brazil while the government studies possible introduction of foreign exchange policy measures to curb the strengthening of the country’s currency, the real.

Brazil’s government will be represented at the meeting by Finance Ministry International Affairs Secretary Marcos Galvao and Central Bank International Affairs Director Luiz Pereira.

Is this rank hypocrisy by Mantega? Not entirely. It’s something worse — a judgment by Brazil’s policy principals that more will be accomplished by staying in Brasilia to stem the tide of inward capital flows than to go to Seoul to seek a multilateral solution to the current lack of macroeconomic policy coordination. 

There’s plenty of blame to go around on this, but if Brazil thinks the G-20 is not going to accomplish much… then the G-20 is a dead forum walking. 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

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