By Shalina Chatlani, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Expatriates in Brazil are facing the dilemma of whether or not to bring dollars, sterling or other hard currencies into the country to potentially take advantage of the weaker real. Amit Ramnani, director of boutique financial consultancy, Ipanema Wealth, believes that such decisions should be based on the longer-term, personal objectives of the individual rather than speculating on the current scenario per se.
“Our clients are frequently asking us whether it is the right time to transfer money into or out of Brazil. Some are thinking of placing their savings in a high interest account or buying property,” said Ramnani. “Others are hoping to convert back to dollars and other currencies in case the real slides even more. This is more of a concern for expats who are leaving Brazil.”
Since the beginning of 2013, the real has fallen from 2.0 to 4.0 against the dollar and 3.3 to 6.2 against sterling. With the ongoing corruption scandals, political instability, low commodity prices and the pending increase in interest rates in the U.S. and Europe, many analysts predict the real can slide to 4.5 or beyond.
Mr. Ramnani favors caution. “While there is a strong case for the real to weaken further, it is a highly volatile currency and subject to speculation and many economic and geopolitical factors,” said Ramnani.
“Do you really want to try and guess the exact timing for making international transfers? In this quarter alone, the real has fluctuated between 3.1 and 4.0. You must also consider inflation, which is over nine percent. Consider its real impact on your high interest-earning account.”
He recommends a diversified financial planning strategy across more than one currency. “Speak to an independent financial advisor about your objectives”, he adds.
In terms of the logistics of making international transfers, Mr. Ramnani recommends that clients use a specialized money transfer service to obtain favorable rates and to ensure that tax returns and asset statements are filed in good time, in particular U.S. expatriates.
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