The Central Bank (BC) announced on Thursday (26) that its statistics on the exchange rate flow of the Brazilian economy have been released monthly, containing errors since October 2021. The exchange rate measures the dollars that enter and leave the country in trade operations abroad, investments or even for buying and selling reserves.
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After verifying the error, BC had to revise its historical series on the indicator. In this review, he detected that what was pointed out as a net inflow of dollars into the national economy in 2022 (more resources coming in than going out), in fact, did not exist. Last year, there was a net outflow of funds from the country.
The error recorded by the BC is more than US$ 12 billion – around R$ 60 billion in the current quotation of the US currency.
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Before the correction, the agency reported an inflow balance of US$ 9.5 billion in the country, in 2022. This gave the impression that more foreigners were bringing money here, in the middle of an election year.
After reviewing the data, the BC found a negative capital flow balance of US$ 3.2 billion. That is, an opposite scenario, with more people and companies taking resources from the country than putting them in.
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According to BC, due to a failure in the verification of the data, some import operations ended up being disregarded, in which a Brazilian company or person sends dollars abroad to buy a product.
In 2022, US$ 250 billion were sent abroad in imports, according to already revised data. Until the flaw was detected, the BC reported US$ 238 billion in imports.
The same data calculation error also occurred in 2021, but only from October. As a result, the impact on flow accounts was smaller –US$ 1.7 billion.
After discovering the failure, the BC’s head of statistics, Fernando Rocha –a career server at the agency– apologized to analysts who use the institution’s data.
The error was even compared to the “accounting inconsistencies” of the Americanas case on social networks. As well as the accounting failure of the retail giant, the BC’s error also presented a more favorable scenario than the real one, only on the Brazilian economy.
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The president of the National Union of Central Bank Employees (Sinal), Fabio Faiad, stated that he does not believe in any manipulation of data at the BC to favor any politician or party – in Americanas, there is suspicion of fraud.
In an interview with Brazil in fact, Faiad stated that what happened at the BC was the result of the institution being scrapped and the lack of personnel to carry out a certain job. “This thing of doing more and more with less and less people can be cute, but in practice it leads to mistakes like this,” he said.
Faiad explained that BC statistics are produced by spreadsheets, an information system, in an almost automated way. All this, however, needs to be checked periodically by an employee. With fewer servers, less checking, more errors.
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“We have a deficit of at least a thousand servers and are playing more and more projects: pix, open finance, real digital…” complained Faiad. “By law, the BC should have 6,500 employees. We are at about 3,500.”
“It has been more than ten years without any public tender and with lagged salaries and unjustifiable asymmetries, which implies a significant worsening of the organizational climate, directly impacting the body’s work routine”, added Sinal, in a note about the BC error sent the press.
Economist Mauricio Weiss, a professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), said that the BC’s error does not have a real impact on the direction of the Brazilian economy and on the decision of investors who invest resources here. According to him, yes, it affects the credibility of the institution.
Economist Andrew Storfer, director of the Economics Center at the National Association of Finance, Administration and Accounting Executives (Anefac) has the same impression. “I don’t think it has such an impact (for the economy). Of course errors are not healthy, but in this case the error represents less than 5% of the operations in the year”, he said. “The practical effect is not relevant.”
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Márcio Pochmann, economist and professor at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp), said that the BC has failed to fulfill its obligations. This error is yet another one of those failures.
The body, which became autonomous in 2021, during the government of Jair Bolsonaro (PL), is legally responsible for controlling inflation in the country. In 2021 and 2022, the inflation targets stipulated by the National Monetary Council (CNM) were not met.
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Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho
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