Did the recent Brazilian economic defaults originate from real economic or financial issues?

Discussion Papers


by Erika Burkowski and Jiyoung Kim

March 2019


This paper aims to discover whether the origins of the recent Brazilian economic defaults (2009, 2015, and 2016) were related to the real economy or to pure financial transactions. To do so, we analyzed the discrepancy of dispersion index (DDI) and structural path decomposition from flow of funds (FOF) matrices of the Brazilian economy from 2004 to 2015. Financial transactions mirrored real transactions in almost every year, except in 2008, when financial transactions more highly contributed to the imbalance. Additionally, the total value of financial firms' transactions grew more than that of non-financial firms in periods preceding economic defaults (2008 and 2014) while the continued growth of non-financial firms transactions decreased the DDI in 2009 and 2015. Changes in the power of dispersion indices corroborated this observation by pointing out that the government and non-financial firms reduced their financial sharing while financial firms improved their role as financial intermediaries and, at the same time, the rest of the world was receiving a significant portion of Brazilian savings.

Keywords: flow of funds, asset liability matrix, financial imbalance, system of national account, financial instruments

JEL classification: C67, D53, G20, N26, O16

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