What is the Brazilian Real (BRL)?

The Brazilian Real is the currency of Brazil. Our currency rankings show that the most famous Brazilian Real exchange rate is the BRL to USD rate. The currency code for Reais is BRL, and the currency symbol is R$. Below, you'll find Real Brazilian rates and a currency converter.

The Republic of Brazil holds several distinctions, including being the largest country globally with Portuguese as its primary language and being the most highly populated nation where Roman Catholicism is the majority religion (65% of the population is Catholic and 87% is Christian.)

Breaking Down the Brazilian Real

The Brazilian real was first introduced in 1994, replacing the country’s previous currency, the cruzeiro real, as part of a comprehensive economic plan to stabilize Brazil’s economy. Its initial exchange rate with the US dollar was 1:1, and shortly after its introduction, the real traded at a rate as high as 1.20 USD for one objective. Brazil pegged its currency to the US dollar and tightly controlled its foreign exchange rate up until 1999.

The real is designated as R$, and it is subdivided into 100 centavos. The objective’s foreign exchange symbol is BRL. As of late 2020, USD/BRL trades at 5.10 Brazilian reals to 1 US dollar. It is a historically low exchange rate for real and is believed to be partially due to the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Brazil’s economy.

Brazilian coins are minted in denominations of 5 centavos, 10 centavos, 25 centavos, 50 centavos, and 1 Brazilian real. Up until 2005, a one-centavo coin was also produced. Many one centavo coins are still in circulation and, although no longer minted, are still recognized as legal tender in Brazil.

In addition to the current series of regular Brazilian coins – the Southern Cross series that began production in 1998 – Brazil minted one regional commemorative coin in 2016 to mark the occasion of Rio de Janeiro hosting the Summer Olympic Games. (The Southern Cross, or Crux, is a significant constellation, frequently used for navigation for hundreds of years, in the Southern Hemisphere.)

Brazilian banknotes are printed and issued by the Central Bank of Brazil in denominations of 2 reels, five reels, ten reels, 20 reels, 50 reels, 100 reels, and 200 reels. The current banknotes began production in 2010 and introduced several new security features designed to combat counterfeiting. The 200 real note was not produced until 2020. Brazilian banknotes differ in size and color, and design to make them more easily identifiable for people with impaired vision.

A commemorative ten real note was issued in 2000 to mark the 500th anniversary of Portuguese explorers arriving in Brazil.

The Brazilian Economy

As previously noted, the economy of Brazil is considered among the strongest of emerging market economies. Due primarily to its rich natural resources, it is spawning a large, diverse economy that attracts large amounts of foreign investment. Foreign direct investment in Brazil is estimated at over $200 billion, and many major multinational companies engage in joint venture projects with Brazilian companies.

Key industries in Brazil include mining, energy, lumber, and a vast array of agricultural products. It provides approximately one-third of the world’s total coffee supply, ranking as the world’s largest coffee producer for more than a century. It is also a significant producer and exporter of soybeans, cotton, sugar cane, tobacco, bananas, and oranges.

Other major export products include aircraft, textiles, electronics, and iron ore. As Brazil transitions to being a more developed economy, healthcare and other services sectors become increasingly essential segments of the country’s economy.

One drag on Brazil’s economy is widespread political corruption, which exists on local and federal levels.