The Public Bank Trilemma: Brazil’s New Developmentalism and the bndes

O Globo. “Apesar do financiamento do BNDES, multinacionais não se livram das dívidas.” Dec 17, 2011, O Globo Gazeta Online

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Tables and Figures

Figure 1. BNDES, Evolution of annual loan disbursements (1999-2012)

R$ billions

Table 1. BNDES, Comparison with other large development banks (2010)

US$ billions



World Bank

China DB

Total Assets





Loan Assets





Loan Disbursements





Source: BNDES 2011:58.

Table 2. Brazilian Trade Structure, 2012*

(in percent)

Share of

imports from:

Share of

exports to:

Manufactures, share in

exports to:

Primary products, share in exports to:

Total Brazilian exports to:







United States






Latin America & Caribbean






European Union


















* January-June, 2012

Note: Columns 1 and 2 add down; columns 3 to 5 add across.

Source: Underlying data from Ministério de Desenvolvimento, Indústria e Comércio Exterior (MDIC). Balança Comércial Brasileira, Dados Consolidados. Brasília: MDIC, 2012.

1 For further discussion of contemporary Brazilian and Latin American political economy, see Bresser-Pereira 2009, Castelo 2012, Zanetta 2012, Ban 2013, and Kingstone 2011.

2 For other analyses of the contemporary political economy of the BNDES see Von Mettenheim 2010; Hochstetler and Montero 2013; Doctor 2013.

3 Data in this paragraph have been drawn from BCB 2009: Tables II.18 and II.19; BNDES 2011: 48; BNDES 2012: 43; BNDES 2013.

4 On the central bank regulatory dilemma in Brazil, see Sola and Whitehead, eds. (2005).

5 For BNDES’ history, see Willis (2013), Armijo (1993, 1997), BNDES (2002a), von Mettenheim (2010), and Doctor (2013).

6 Rossi and Prates (2009: 24) concluded that the share of total financing from the BNDES system that was export-related was fully 33 percent in 2003, but had fallen to only 13 percent of disbursements in 2008. Other sources show smaller shares.

7 Brazilian government officials, sensitive to the charge of Brazilian neo-imperialism in South America, are coy about the origins of the IIRSA. Knowledgeable interviewees at the IADB and among former government economists confirmed that much of the political impetus and technical expertise for the program came from Brazil, especially the BNDES.

8 It is true that long-term rates legitimately may be lower than short-term ones. However, given the magnitude of these gaps in Brazil, the general points still hold.

9 Another reason that Brazilian interest rates remain stubbornly high is that commercial banks get so little of their funding from the free market (since they also access on-loaned BNDES funds, which are at the below-market TJLP rate). Brazil’s Central Bank must therefore raise rates quite high in order to get an impact on the volume of credit.

10 See, for example,

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