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Public Debt: The Brazilian Experience


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.


" 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

This book is organized into three parts:

  • Part I, Understanding the Brazilian Public Debt; Origin and history of Brazil's public debt up to 1963, provides an historical and conceptual analysis of Brazil's public debt, exploring its main concepts and sustainability, and offering a view of its progress from its inception to the present.
  • Part II, Managing the Brazilian Public Debt, describes all aspects of FPD management.
  • Part III, The Public Debt Market in Brazil, describes how the public debt market operates in Brazil. It reviews recent developments and follows with the characteristics of public securities traditionally used to finance debt, along with their pricing schemes. Next, it describes the organization of Brazil's financial markets, the operation of primary and secondary debt markets, the expansion of the investor base over time and the main holders of government securities.

More 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


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Anderson Silva
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Uloaku Echebiri
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