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Brazilian real

Brazilian real

Overview
The real is the present-day currency
Currency
In economics, currency refers to a generally accepted medium of exchange. These are usually the coins and banknotes of a particular government, which comprise the physical aspects of a nation's money supply...

 of Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. Its sign
Currency sign
A currency sign is a graphic symbol used as a shorthand for a currency's name, especially in reference to amounts of money. They typically employ the first letter or character of the currency, sometimes with minor changes such as ligatures or overlaid vertical or horizontal bars...

 is R$ and its ISO code
ISO 4217
ISO 4217 is a standard published by the International Standards Organization, which delineates currency designators, country codes , and references to minor units in three tables:* Table A.1 – Current currency & funds code list...

 is BRL. It is subdivided into 100 centavos ("hundredths").

The modern real was introduced in 1994 as part of the Plano Real
Plano Real
The Plano Real was a set of measures taken to stabilize the Brazilian economy in early 1994, under the direction of Fernando Henrique Cardoso as the Minister of Finance, during the presidency of Itamar Franco....

, a substantial monetary reform
Monetary reform
Monetary reform describes any movement or theory that proposes a different system of supplying money and financing the economy from the current system.Monetary reformers may advocate any of the following, among other proposals:...

 package that aimed to put an end to three decades of rampant inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

. At the time it was meant to have approximately fixed 1:1 exchange rate
Exchange rate
In finance, an exchange rate between two currencies is the rate at which one currency will be exchanged for another. It is also regarded as the value of one country’s currency in terms of another currency...

 with the United States dollar
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

. It suffered a sudden devaluation
Devaluation
Devaluation is a reduction in the value of a currency with respect to those goods, services or other monetary units with which that currency can be exchanged....

 to a rate of about 2:1 in 1999, reached almost 4:1 in 2002, then partly recovered and has been approximately 2:1 since 2006.
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Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The real is the present-day currency
Currency
In economics, currency refers to a generally accepted medium of exchange. These are usually the coins and banknotes of a particular government, which comprise the physical aspects of a nation's money supply...

 of Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. Its sign
Currency sign
A currency sign is a graphic symbol used as a shorthand for a currency's name, especially in reference to amounts of money. They typically employ the first letter or character of the currency, sometimes with minor changes such as ligatures or overlaid vertical or horizontal bars...

 is R$ and its ISO code
ISO 4217
ISO 4217 is a standard published by the International Standards Organization, which delineates currency designators, country codes , and references to minor units in three tables:* Table A.1 – Current currency & funds code list...

 is BRL. It is subdivided into 100 centavos ("hundredths").

The modern real was introduced in 1994 as part of the Plano Real
Plano Real
The Plano Real was a set of measures taken to stabilize the Brazilian economy in early 1994, under the direction of Fernando Henrique Cardoso as the Minister of Finance, during the presidency of Itamar Franco....

, a substantial monetary reform
Monetary reform
Monetary reform describes any movement or theory that proposes a different system of supplying money and financing the economy from the current system.Monetary reformers may advocate any of the following, among other proposals:...

 package that aimed to put an end to three decades of rampant inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

. At the time it was meant to have approximately fixed 1:1 exchange rate
Exchange rate
In finance, an exchange rate between two currencies is the rate at which one currency will be exchanged for another. It is also regarded as the value of one country’s currency in terms of another currency...

 with the United States dollar
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

. It suffered a sudden devaluation
Devaluation
Devaluation is a reduction in the value of a currency with respect to those goods, services or other monetary units with which that currency can be exchanged....

 to a rate of about 2:1 in 1999, reached almost 4:1 in 2002, then partly recovered and has been approximately 2:1 since 2006. The exchange rate as of September 12, 2011 is BRL 1.71 to USD
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

 1.00.

In Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 the word real means both "royal" and "real". The name of the historic real derived from the first sense. The name of the modern currency is generally understood to refer both to the historic unit and to the second sense.

The dollar-like sign (cifrão) in the currency's symbol (both historic and modern), and in all the other past Brazilian currencies, is officially written with two vertical strokes () rather than one. However Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

 considers the difference to be only a matter of font
Font
In typography, a font is traditionally defined as a quantity of sorts composing a complete character set of a single size and style of a particular typeface...

 design, and does not have a separate code for the two-stroked version.

History



The modern real (plural reais) was introduced on July 1, 1994, during the presidency of Itamar Franco
Itamar Franco
Itamar Augusto Cautiero Franco was a Brazilian politician and the President of Brazil from December 29, 1992, to January 1, 1995. During his long political career, Franco was also a Senator, Mayor, Ambassador, Governor and Vice President...

, when Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Fernando Henrique Cardoso – also known by his initials FHC – was the 34th President of the Federative Republic of Brazil for two terms from January 1, 1995 to December 31, 2002. He is an accomplished sociologist, professor and politician...

 was the Minister of Finance, as part of a broader plan to stabilize the Brazilian economy
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

, known as the Plano Real
Plano Real
The Plano Real was a set of measures taken to stabilize the Brazilian economy in early 1994, under the direction of Fernando Henrique Cardoso as the Minister of Finance, during the presidency of Itamar Franco....

. The new currency replaced the short-lived cruzeiro real
Brazilian cruzeiro real
The cruzeiro real was the short-lived currency of Brazil between August 1, 1993 and June 30, 1994. It was subdivided in 100 centavos, however, this unit was used only for accounting purposes. The currency had the ISO 4217 code BRR.-History:The cruzeiro real replaced the third cruzeiro, with 1000...

 (CR$). The reform included the demonetization of the cruzeiro real and required a massive banknote replacement.

At its introduction, the real was defined to be equal to 1 unidade real de valor
Unidade Real de Valor
The Unidade Real de Valor, or URV , was a non-monetary reference currency created in March 1994, as part of the Plano Real in Brazil...

(URV, "real value unit") a non-circulating currency unit. At the same time the URV was defined to be worth 2750 cruzeiros reais, which was the average exchange rate of the U.S. dollar to the cruzeiro real on that day. As a consequence, the real was worth exactly one U.S. dollar as it was introduced. Combined with all previous currency changes in the country's history, this reform made the new real equal to 2.75 x 1018 (2.75 quintillions) of Brazil's original "réis".

Soon after its introduction, the real unexpectedly gained value against the U.S. dollar, due to large capital inflows in late 1994 and 1995. During that period it attained its maximum dollar value ever, about US$ 1.20. Between 1996 and 1998 the exchange rate was tightly controlled by the Central Bank, so that the real depreciated slowly and smoothly in relation to the dollar, rising from near 1:1 to about 1.2:1 by the end of 1998. In January 1999 the Central Bank, under its new president Arminio Fraga
Arminio Fraga
Arminio Fraga is a Brazilian economist who was president of the Central Bank of Brazil from 1999 to 2002. He is also a former associate of George Soros and his Quantum Fund...

, released its control. The Real suffered sudden and unexpected maxi-devaluation, to a rate of almost R$2 : US$1.

In the following years, the currency's value against the dollar followed an erratic but mostly downwards path from 1999 until late 2002, when the prospect of the election of leftist candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva , known popularly as Lula, served as the 35th President of Brazil from 2003 to 2010.A founding member of the Workers' Party , he ran for President three times unsuccessfully, first in the 1989 election. Lula achieved victory in the 2002 election, and was inaugurated as...

, considered a radical populist by sectors of the financial markets, prompted another currency crisis and a spike in inflation. Many Brazilians feared another default on government debts or a resumption of heterodox economic policies, and rushed to exchange their reais into tangible assets or foreign currencies. In October 2002 the exchange rate reached its historic low of almost R$4 per US$1. The crisis subsided once Lula took office, after he, his finance minister Antonio Palocci
Antonio Palocci
Antonio Palocci Filho is a Brazilian physician and politician, and former Chief of Staff of Brazil under President Dilma Rousseff . He was the Finance minister of the Brazilian federal government from January 1, 2003 until March 27, 2006 , during the presidency of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva...

, and Arminio Fraga reaffirmed their intention to continue the orthodox macroeconomic policies of his predecessor (including inflation-targeting, primary fiscal surplus and floating exchange rate, as well as continued payments of the public debt). The value of the real in dollars continued to fluctuate but generally upwards, so that by 2005 the exchange was a little over R$2 : US$1. In May 2007, for the first time since 1999, the real became worth more than US$ 0.50 — even though the Central Bank, concerned about its effect on the Brazilian economy, had tried to keep it below that symbolic threshold.

First series (1994-1997)


In 1994, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents and 1 real. All were struck in stainless steel
Stainless steel
In metallurgy, stainless steel, also known as inox steel or inox from French "inoxydable", is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5 or 11% chromium content by mass....

. They remain legal tender
Legal tender
Legal tender is a medium of payment allowed by law or recognized by a legal system to be valid for meeting a financial obligation. Paper currency is a common form of legal tender in many countries....

 but since December 31, 1997 they are being slowly withdrawn from circulation by the Central Bank.

Coins are depicted to the same scale but not at true size
First series
Value Obverse Reverse
1 centavo
5 centavos
10 centavos
25 centavos
50 centavos
1 real

Second series (1998-)


In 1998, a second series of coins was introduced. It featured copper-plated steel coins of 1 and 5 centavos, brass
Brass
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin...

-plated steel coins of 10 and 25 centavos, a cupronickel
Cupronickel
Cupronickel or copper-nickel or "cupernickel" is an alloy of copper that contains nickel and strengthening elements, such as iron and manganese. Cupronickel is highly resistant to corrosion in seawater, because its electrode potential is adjusted to be neutral with regard to seawater...

 50 centavos coin, and a bi-coloured brass and cupronickel coin of 1 real. However, from 2002 onwards, steel was used for the 50 centavos coin and the central part of the 1 real coin.

In November 2005, the Central Bank discontinued the production of 1 centavo coins, but the existing ones continue to be legal tender. Retailers now generally round their prices to the next 5 or 10 centavos.

Coins are depicted to the same scale but not at true size
Second series
Value Obverse Reverse Design
1 centavo
Obverse: The Southern Cross in right upper side.
Reverse: Depicts Pedro Álvares Cabral
Pedro Álvares Cabral
Pedro Álvares Cabral was a Portuguese noble, military commander, navigator and explorer regarded as the discoverer of Brazil. Cabral conducted the first substantial exploration of the northeast coast of South America and claimed it for Portugal. While details of Cabral's early life are sketchy, it...

, Portuguese sea captain. 16th century Portuguese ship in the background.
5 centavos
Obverse: The Southern Cross in right upper side.
Reverse: Depicts Joaquim José da Silva Xavier (also known as Tiradentes
Tiradentes
Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, known as Tiradentes , was a leading member of the Brazilian revolutionary movement known as the Inconfidência Mineira whose aim was full independence from the Portuguese colonial power and to create a Brazilian republic. When the plan was discovered, Tiradentes was...

), martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

 of early independence movement known as Inconfidência Mineira
Inconfidência Mineira
The Inconfidência Mineira of 1789 was an unsuccessful Brazilian independence movement.It was a result of the confluence of external and internal causes...

. In the background, a triangle
Triangle
A triangle is one of the basic shapes of geometry: a polygon with three corners or vertices and three sides or edges which are line segments. A triangle with vertices A, B, and C is denoted ....

, symbol of the movement, and a dove, symbol of peace and freedom.
10 centavos
Obverse: The Southern Cross in right upper side.
Reverse: Depicts Emperor Pedro I, Brazil's first monarch. In the background, the Emperor on a horse: a scene alluding to the proclamation of independence.
25 centavos
Obverse: The Southern Cross in right upper side.
Reverse: Depicts Field Marshal
Field Marshal
Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

 Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca, Brazil's first Republican president. The Republic's coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 is in the background.
50 centavos
Obverse: The Southern Cross in right upper side.
Reverse: Depicts José Maria da Silva Paranhos Júnior
Barão do Rio Branco
José Maria da Silva Paranhos, Jr., 1st Baron of Rio Branco was a Brazilian diplomat, geographer, historian, politician and professor, considered to be the "father of Brazilian diplomacy". He was the son of famous statesman José Maria da Silva Paranhos, Sr....

 (also known as Baron of Rio Branco), the country's most distinguished Minister of Foreign Affairs. In the background, image of the country with ripples expanding outwards, representing the development of Brazil's foreign policy and the expansion and demarcation of the national borders.
1 real
Obverse: The Southern Cross in right upper side.
Reverse: Outer ring depicts sample of marajo
Marajó
Marajó is an island located at the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil. It is part of the state of Pará.- Geography :With a land area of 40,100 km² , which compares to the size of Switzerland, it is the largest island to be completely surrounded by freshwater in the world...

ara art pattern. In the inner ring, the Efígie da República
Efígie da República
The Efígie da República is used as a national personification, both, in Brazil and in Portugal, symbolizing the Republic.-Brazil:...

, symbol of the Republic.

Commemorative coins


The Brazilian Central Bank has also issued special commemorative versions of the 1 real coin on special occasions. These coins are legal tender and differ from the standard ones only on the reverse side.

Coins are not depicted to the same scale
Value Image Details
1 real
Release date: December 10, 1998
Occasion: The 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly . The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled...


Units produced: 600 thousand
Reverse: The official logo
Logo
A logo is a graphic mark or emblem commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition...

 of the commemorations; in bas-relief, a human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

 figure. In the outer ring, the inscriptions "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" and "50th anniversary"
1 real
Release date: September 12, 2002
Occasion: The 100th birth anniversary of Brazilian ex-president Juscelino Kubitschek
Units produced: 50 million
Reverse: A face portrait of Kubitschek. Vertically, the inscription "Juscelino Kubitschek's Centenary". In the outer ring, images alluding to the columns of the Alvorada Palace, the Presidential residence in Brasília
Brasília
Brasília is the capital city of Brazil. The name is commonly spelled Brasilia in English. The city and its District are located in the Central-West region of the country, along a plateau known as Planalto Central. It has a population of about 2,557,000 as of the 2008 IBGE estimate, making it the...

, the city that he decided would be built.
1 real
Release date: September 23, 2005
Occasion: The 40th anniversary of the foundation of the Brazilian Central Bank
Units produced: 40 million
Reverse: Image of the trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 Central Bank building, inspired in the official logo developed for the commemorations. In the outer ring, the inscriptions "Brazilian Central Bank" and "1965 40 YEARS 2005"

Original series


In 1994, banknotes were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 reais. These were followed by 2 reais in 2000 and 20 reais in 2001. In December 31, 2005, BCB discontinued the production of the 1 real banknote, but it remains legal tender
Legal tender
Legal tender is a medium of payment allowed by law or recognized by a legal system to be valid for meeting a financial obligation. Paper currency is a common form of legal tender in many countries....

.
Real Series http://www.bc.gov.br/?CEDCOMUM
Image Value Dimensions Description
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
1 real 140 × 65 mm The Republic's Effigy
Efígie da República
The Efígie da República is used as a national personification, both, in Brazil and in Portugal, symbolizing the Republic.-Brazil:...

,
portrayed as a bust
Bust (sculpture)
A bust is a sculpted or cast representation of the upper part of the human figure, depicting a person's head and neck, as well as a variable portion of the chest and shoulders. The piece is normally supported by a plinth. These forms recreate the likeness of an individual...

Sapphire-spangled Emerald Hummingbird
Sapphire-spangled Emerald
The Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Amazilia lactea, is a species of hummingbird that occurs in Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil from the Amazon south to Santa Catarina; there are uncertain records from east Ecuador. Both male and female have a bright "sapphire" blue chest and chin and green-blue...

 (Amazilia lactea)
2 reais Hawksbill turtle
Hawksbill turtle
The hawksbill sea turtle is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. It is the only extant species in its genus. The species has a worldwide distribution, with Atlantic and Pacific subspecies. E. imbricata imbricata is the Atlantic subspecies, while E...

 (Eretmochelys imbricata)
5 reais Great Egret
Great Egret
The Great Egret , also known as the Great White Egret or Common Egret, White Heron, or Great White Heron, is a large, widely-distributed egret. Distributed across most of the tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world, in southern Europe it is rather localized...

 (Casmerodius albus)
10 reais Green-winged Macaw (Ara chlorepterus)
20 reais Golden Lion Tamarin
Golden Lion Tamarin
The golden lion tamarin also known as the golden marmoset, is a small New World monkey of the family Callitrichidae...

 (Leonthopitecus rosalia)
50 reais Jaguar
Jaguar
The jaguar is a big cat, a feline in the Panthera genus, and is the only Panthera species found in the Americas. The jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. The jaguar's present range extends from Southern United States and Mexico...

 (Panthera onca)
100 reais Dusky Grouper
Epinephelus marginatus
The Dusky Grouper is the best known grouper of the Mediterranean Sea and North Africa coast. It is said to have the best taste of all Mediterranean fishes.- Morphology :...

 (Epinephelus marginatus)

Polymer 10 real note


In April 2000, in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Portuguese arrival on Brazilian shores, the Brazilian Central Bank released a polymer
Polymer banknote
Polymer banknotes were developed by the Reserve Bank of Australia , Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and The University of Melbourne and were first issued as currency in Australia in 1988. These banknotes are made from the polymer biaxially-oriented polypropylene ...

 10 real banknote that circulates along with the other banknotes above. The Brazilian Mint
Casa da Moeda do Brasil
The Casa da Moeda do Brasil is the Brazilian mint, owned by the Brazilian government and administratively subordinated to the Ministry of Finances. It was established in 1694...

 printed 250 million of these notes, which at the time accounted for about half of the 10 real banknotes in circulation.
Value Obverse Reverse
10


This note contains a more complex design, as follows:
Obverse:
  • Image of Pedro Álvares Cabral
    Pedro Álvares Cabral
    Pedro Álvares Cabral was a Portuguese noble, military commander, navigator and explorer regarded as the discoverer of Brazil. Cabral conducted the first substantial exploration of the northeast coast of South America and claimed it for Portugal. While details of Cabral's early life are sketchy, it...

    , the Portuguese sea captain;
  • A representation of the map "Terra Brasilis", one of the earliest drawings of the land;
  • A passage from Pero Vaz de Caminha
    Pêro Vaz de Caminha
    Pêro Vaz de Caminha , was a Portuguese knight that accompanied Pedro Álvares Cabral to India in 1500, as a secretary to the royal factory. Caminha wrote the detailed official report of the April 1500 discovery of Brazil by Cabral's fleet...

    's letter
    Carta de Pero Vaz de Caminha
    In his letter to Manuel I of Portugal, Pêro Vaz de Caminha gives what is considered by many today as being one of the most accurate accounts of what Brazil used to look like in 1500...

     to King Manuel I of Portugal
    Manuel I of Portugal
    Manuel I , the Fortunate , 14th king of Portugal and the Algarves was the son of Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, , by his wife, Infanta Beatrice of Portugal...

    , the first known description of Brazil;
  • A 16th century Portuguese Rose of Winds
    Compass rose
    A compass rose, sometimes called a windrose, is a figure on a compass, map, nautical chart or monument used to display the orientation of the cardinal directions — North, East, South and West - and their intermediate points. It is also the term for the graduated markings found on the traditional...

    ;
  • To the right of the map, five ships from Cabral's expedition appear;
  • In the background, decorative elements from Portuguese tiles can be seen;
  • The white area around the red dot is actually transparent (the red dot is translucent);
  • Finally, also in the background, the Cross from the Order of Christ
    Order of Christ (Brazil)
    The Imperial Order of Our Lord Jesus Christ , simply named Order of Christ, is an order of chivalry instituted by emperor Pedro I of Brazil on 7 December 1822, on the basis of the Portuguese Order of Christ founded by King Dom Dinis and Pope John XXII in 1316-1319. Knights of the Order of Christ...

    , which was present in all Portuguese ships of the time, appears.


Reverse:
A stylized map of Brazil with photographs depicting the ethnic variety of the Brazilian people (white, black, and amerindian).

New series



On February 3, 2010, the Central Bank of Brazil
Central Bank of Brazil
The Central Bank of Brazil is Brazil's monetary authority. It was established on December 31, 1964.The Central Bank is linked with the Ministry of Finance. Like other central banks, the Brazilian central bank is the principal monetary authority of the country...

 announced a new series of the real banknotes which would begin to be released in April 2010. The new design will add security enhancements which aim to reduce counterfeiting
Counterfeit money
Counterfeit money is currency that is produced without the legal sanction of the state or government to resemble some official form of currency closely enough that it may be confused for genuine currency. Producing or using counterfeit money is a form of fraud or forgery. Counterfeiting is probably...

. The notes will have different sizes according to their values to help vision-impaired
Blindness
Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.Various scales have been developed to describe the extent of vision loss and define blindness...

 people. The changes were made reflecting the growth of the Brazilian economy
Economy of Brazil
The economy of Brazil is the world's seventh largest by nominal GDP and eighth largest by purchasing power parity. Brazil has moderately free markets and an inward-oriented economy...

and the need for a stronger and safer currency. The new banknotes have begun to enter circulation in December 2010, coexisting with the older ones.

External links