IMF announces departure from Brazil amid attacks from Economy Minister

imf guedes attacks
Economy Minister Paulo Guedes. Photo: Alan Santos/PR

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed on Thursday that it will close its Brazilian office by June 30, 2022, as part of an agreement with the Brazilian government. The decision was met with sarcasm by Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, who revealed the news during an event, adding that the government had “told them to make wrong predictions somewhere else.”

According to the IMF, even though Brazil’s financial agreement with the fund ended in 2005, it maintained its office in the country to foster technical cooperation with local authorities, a relationship it intends to keep.

“We hope that the high quality of the engagement of the fund’s technical body and Brazilian authorities lingers, as we work closely to support Brazil in the development of its economic policy and institutional configurations,” said the IMF, in a statement.

Mr. Guedes, on the other hand, criticized the fund during an event in São Paulo on Wednesday, saying the IMF experts “had nothing to do in Brazil” and “stayed here probably because they like football and feijoada.”

Mr. Guedes was particularly scathing about the IMF 2020’s economic estimates, which initially foretold a steeper economic recession for Brazil than the actual contraction of 4.1 percent — without mentioning that the fund adjusted its estimates upwards several times throughout the year. 

His remarks come months before former Central Bank chairman Ilan Goldfajn takes office as the new IMF director for the Western Hemisphere. Mr. Guedes noted that they are friends, but since “there is a Brazilian who criticizes the country going to the IMF, it does not need to stay here anymore.”