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Subunit: 1/100 centavo
Coins: Freq. used 5, 10, 25, 50 centavos, R$1
Banknotes: Freq. used R$2, R$5, R$10, R$20, R$50
The Real, meaning “royal”, is the currency of Brazil. When the first Real circulated, the plural used was réis. The currently used plural form is reais, with the symbol R$ and ISO 4217 code BRL. The modern real is subdivided into 100 centavos.
The modern real was introduced on July 1, 1994, during the presidency of Itamar Franco, as part of a plan to stabilize the Brazilian economy.
The real was introduced at a rate of R$1.00 = 1 unidade real de valor (URV, “real value unit”) a non-circulating currency. The real is subdivided into 100 centavos. The symbol R$ is used before the number and the decimal separator is a comma (,): R$ 123,45.
The real initially appreciated (gained value) against the U.S. dollar as a result of the large amount of capital inflows in late 1994 and 1995. It then began a gradual depreciation process, culminating in the early 1999 Brazilian currency crisis. The Real suffered a maxi-devaluation, and fluctuated wildly.
The Brazilian Real never really gained a stable foot-hold despite regular attempts by the government to stabilize it. As a result of general mis-trust from the World´s banking institutions, the currency suffered a gradual depreciation until late 2002, when the prospect of the election of PT’s (Labour Party) candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, considered a radical populist by sectors of the financial markets, prompted another currency crisis and a spike in inflation, as many Brazilians fearing another default or a resumption of previous economic policies purchased tangible assets as an inflation hedge or just simply took their money out of the country.
At its worst point in October 2002, the Real actually reached its historic low of almost R$4 per US$1.
However, following assurances by then central bank president Arminio Fraga and repeated assertions by Lula and his finance minister that orthodox macroeconomic policies would be continued (including inflation-targeting, primary fiscal surplus and floating exchange rate, as well as continued payments of the public debt) the real has been getting stronger and stronger against the dollar and, since the beginning of 2005, most other world currencies as well.
In the year of 2007, in spite of the various attempts of the Brazilian Banco Central (Central Bank) to keep the Real low, it has grown stronger against the dollar. In May 2007, the real became worth more than 50 U.S. cents for the first time in recent years.
To find today´s rate of the Brazilian Real visit, www.fx-foreignexchange.com and compare the Real against all major currencies including the USD, Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Euro, British Pound Sterling, Yen and the Juan.