(Adds quote from Tombini, background)
By Marcela Ayres
BRASILIA, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Brazil’s central bank chief, Alexandre Tombini, told lawmakers on Thursday he opposes using the country’s $370 billion foreign reserves at this moment as they serve as an insurance policy for Latin America’s largest economy.
Speculation that Brazil could sell dollars from its reserves on the spot currency market peaked last month when the Brazilian real hit an all-time low of more than 4 per dollar.
Tombini warned then that the bank was ready to use reserves to tame a surge in volatility at the time.
Some economists say Brazil has excess foreign reserves that could be sold to reduce its public debt at a time when the government struggles to gap a budget deficit.
Speaking with lawmakers during a breakfast in the central bank’s headquarters, Tombini said he does not support the idea of using foreign reserves to pay debt.
“I would not touch the reserves in this context,” he said, according to a recording of the meeting obtained by Reuters.
He argued that local companies have not had any difficulty finding external financing “despite the international turbulence and all the uncertainty regarding Brazil’s economy.”
The Brazilian real trimmed gains after Reuters reported Tombini’s remarks but still traded 1.4 percent stronger on the day, at 3.86 per dollar. (Reporting by Marcela Ayres, writing by Walter Brandimarte; Editing by Dan Grebler)