By Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Isabel Versiani
BRASILIA, Feb 4 (Reuters)- Brazil’s government is mulling changes in the foreign exchange rules as part of a long-term plan to make the real a fully convertible currency, though market demand will be the key driver for those changes, a top finance ministry official told Reuters on Thursday.
A stable and growing economy has boosted demand for the Brazilian currency, which will naturally lead to steps aiming to make it fully convertible — meaning it could be freely traded and exchanged anywhere into other major currencies — said Luiz Eduardo Melin, secretary of fiscal and economic reforms at the finance ministry.
The government has no specific plan of action but is looking to implement a law allowing nonresident foreigners to hold bank accounts in Brazil, which has already been approved by Congress.
“When you start having greater demand for a currency in international transactions, that is another step toward having a convertible real,” Melin, who is also chief of staff of Finance Minister Guido Mantega, said in an interview.
“There is no program of measures. It’s not state-led, it is market-led,” he said. “The obstacles are removed as demand grows.”