Lula ascribes the rise in the dollar to 'speculative interest' and maintains criticism of the Central Bank

The declaration was made in an interview with Sociedade Radio, on Tuesday morning (2)

Translated by: Ana Paula Rocha

Brasil de Fato | São Paulo |
Lula also said the Central Bank cannot “be at the service of the financial market” - Ricardo Stuckert/PR

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Workers’ Party) ascribed the rise in the dollar to "speculative interest against the real [the Brazilian currency]" on Tuesday morning (2), in an interview with Sociedade Radio, in Salvador. On Monday (1), the US dollar closed the day at BRL 5,653, the highest exchange rate since January 10, 2022, when it reached BRL 5.672.

"Obviously, I'm worried about the recent rise in the dollar. It's speculation. There is a game of speculative interest against the real in this country. What is happening is not normal," said the president. "We have to do something about it."

According to Lula, "you cannot create crises" and "blame it" on the president's statements. The Workers’ Party politician was referring to his recent criticism of Roberto Campos Neto's actions as president of the Central Bank, and his monetary policy that keeps the SELIC rate (basic interest rate) at 10.5% per year.

In the same interview, the president restated his position. "The Central Bank can’t be led by someone with a political bias. I definitely think he [Roberto Campos Neto] has a political bias, but I cannot do anything about it, because he's the president of the Central Bank. He has a mandate; he was elected by the Senate. I have to wait for his term to end and appoint someone new," he said. 

Lula also said that the Central Bank is a bank of the "Brazilian state" and therefore it cannot "be at the service of the financial market", but of the population. "We need to keep the Central Bank working correctly, autonomously, so that the president of the Central Bank is not vulnerable to political pressure. (...) When you are authoritarian, you decide to let the market take over an institution that should belong to the state. It cannot be at the service of the financial system or the market," he added.

"We need to take care of public spending. And no one has ever taken more care of public spending than I have. What I cannot do is accept the idea that we have to end benefits for the poor," he added.

On Monday (1) evening, Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad said the government should better communicate the country's economic results under the Lula administration and ascribed the rise in the dollar to "rumors".

"We recognize the need to end the pressure of public spending. As long as – as the president always reminds us – we take care of the most vulnerable," said the minister. "We recognize internal and external challenges. We have to improve our communication, send out the right signals to Brazilian society, [informing them about] social, fiscal and environmental sustainability."

"This has to be the motto of this government. We have to show that we are committed to these goals," Haddad told the press. 

Edited by: Nathallia Fonseca