Book Launch - Public Debt: The Brazilian Experience
June 18, 2010Washington, D.C.

“Public Debt: The Brazilian Experience,” offers an in-depth story that charts the country’s history of public debt since 16th century Imperial Brazil. At this book launch the authors describe the sequence of events that led to current practices.

Public debt is an often misunderstood theme that needs to be explored, given its powerful effect on a country’s economic and social well-being. This book, “Public Debt: The Brazilian Experience,” does that, offering an in-depth story that charts the country’s course since 16th century Imperial Brazil.

Over the years, Brazil revised its public debt management practices, remodeled its institutions, and created tools to oversee the costs and risks of its exposure. It also launched a strategy to reduce its vulnerability to external shocks. Readers will find a comprehensive, accessible account of the country’s public debt, with a description of techniques the Treasury devised to manage it and develop the government securities markets.

The book’s authors, mostly public debt managers, describe the sequence of events that led to current practices, which international experts agree are highly effective. The book will be an invaluable reference for investors, academics, journalists and policy makers from other countries who seek to apply sound debt management practices.

Book reviews:

"This book is an important contribution to understanding the problems and limitations related to public debt management in Brazil. It has the great advantage of having been written by authors with both theoretical knowledge and practical experience, who compile and expand on information which, until now, could only be gathered from scattered sources. I am absolutely certain that by making the story public, the authors have improved the understanding of Brazil's public debt - and debt management in general - both home and abroad."
Murilo Portugal, Deputy Managing Director, IMF

"Weak debt management and unstable  markets for government securities often have painful social-economic consequences, especially affecting the poor. This book tells an encouraging story  about how to get these critical aspects right and offers a lesson on the importance of developing best practices to manage public debt in ways that reduce its overall burden, ensure financial stability and pave way for economic recovery."
Otaviano Canuto, Vice President and Head of Network, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, World Bank

"Following its legacy of challenging fiscal and debt management policies, Brazil's recent economic success is impressive. This book provides valuable insight - an insider's guide if you will - into the development and fine-tuning of best practices in debt management, and its coordination with sound fiscal policy, a key element that underpins the striking turnaround in Brazil's economic history."
Lisa Schineller, Director Sovereign Ratings, Standard & Poor's

"As recent events in Europe have shown, there are very few functions of the state that are more important than managing a country's national debt. Tighten too much and you may under-invest, condemning the current generation to limit its welfare to its own productivity. Loosen too much and you risk insolvency, condemning future generations to pay for today's mistakes. Finding that right balance makes debt management more of an art than a science. This book shows how that balance was actually found in a giant country like Brazil, no less. Needless to say, the lessons are useful worldwide."
Marcelo Giugale, Director for Economic Policy and Poverty Reduction, World Bank

12:30 - 12:40 pm      Welcome Remarks
                               •  Alison Harwood, Manager, Securities Markets Group, Global Capital
                               Markets Development Department (GCMSM), FPD, World Bank Group

12:40 - 1:00 pm        Opening Remarks 
                               •  Makhtar Diop, Country Director for Brazil, World Bank (via videoconference)
                               •  Paulo Valle, Undersecretary for Public Debt, National Treasury, Brazil

1:00 - 1:20 pm          Overview by Co-editors
                               •  Anderson Silva, Senior Debt Specialist, GCMSM, World Bank Group
                               •  Otavio Medeiros, Head of  the General Public Debt Strategic Planning
                                   Department, Brazilian National Treasury

1:20 - 1:35 pm          Comments by:
                               •  Murilo Portugal, Deputy Managing Director, IMF

 1:35 - 2:00 pm         Q&A