May 28, 2019 / 2:19 PM / a month ago

Brazil central bank to begin push for fully convertible currency

BRASILIA, May 28 (Reuters) - Brazil’s central bank plans to present a bill on Wednesday aimed at simplifying the laws governing foreign exchange markets and preparing the way to make the real a fully convertible currency, the central bank said on Tuesday.

Roberto Campos Neto, who assumed the presidency of the central bank on Feb. 28, has said making it cheaper, easier and more attractive to trade and do business in the real is one of his top priorities.

He told news website Poder360 in comments published on Tuesday and confirmed by the central bank’s press office that the first phase of that effort would come in a package of reforms to be presented in a Wednesday news conference.

“We need to start by simplifying the legislation, which is mostly from 1920 to 1950,” he told attendees at a dinner hosted by Poder360. “Liberalizing trade will not succeed if we do not have simpler regulation. Small remittances, for example, cost much more here than in other countries.”

The measures to be announced on Wednesday are a first step toward making the real a reference currency for Latin America.

“There is a lot of demand for reais-based accounts in small countries doing business in Brazil,” Campos Neto was quoted as saying. “If we mature, keep inflation under control and interest rates low, we will be able to expand the currency. But for that, it’s important to have a convertible currency.”

$1 = 4.0350 reais Reporting by Jamie McGeever Editing by Susan Thomas

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