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Opinion

Latin America finances: Three takes from 50 years

The 50th anniversary issues of Euromoney are forcing journalists to take a broader sweep of the issues we cover than the usual month-by-month perspective.

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For me, looking at Latin America, the experience was fascinating: from going through the old print archives to having a reason – an excuse – to meet with some of the region’s most important and influential bankers and policymakers.

There were three main initial lessons that I took from lengthening the prism of coverage to encompass half a century (beyond how bullet-proof the optimism of bankers tends to be, especially in contrast to the scepticism of the accompanying Euromoney editorial comment throughout our history).

The first has been just how surprisingly important technical issues can be in determining the fortunes of a continent. The best example of this was the role that computational capacity played in the 1994 creation of the Plano Real and the development of Brazil’s economy and financial markets.

Persio Arida, one of the architects of the stabilization plan pointed out that without the computational capacity of the Brazilian financial system – essentially its ability to enable positive interest rates to be maintained within a system even when faced with hyper-inflation and the high velocity of money – the Plano Real wouldn’t have succeeded in the manner that it did.


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