Brazil's central bank sees no risks to financial stability

SAO PAULO Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:34am EDT

SAO PAULO Aug 15 (Reuters) - Brazil's financial system faces no major risks, because consumer credit growth has slowed recently and companies have relatively low exposure to foreign debt, central bank director Carlos Hamilton Araujo said on Friday.

"Foreign debt at Brazilian companies remains at a low level. When adjusted by total debt, it has declined after the 2008 crisis," economic policy director Araujo said during a seminar on risk and financial stability.

Many companies are also hedged against a currency drop through swap contracts offered on a regular basis by the central bank. The regular sale of swaps has been part of a successful central bank program of intervention, which has helped the real gain about 7 percent so far this year.

Araujo also reiterated that recent measures aimed at pumping up to $20 billion into the country's credit markets were not at odds with the bank's monetary policy.

The central bank has held interest rates at 11 percent, the highest in more than two years, as it scrambles to lower inflation, but many economists say the credit measures could stoke price rises by boosting demand.

"If there are no signs of potential risks or if there is an undesired slowdown in credit supply growth - either in specific economic sectors or spread out - the introduction of macropudential measures is justifiable," he said.

Araujo made no comments on inflation. (Reporting by Patricia Duarte; Writing by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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