BRAZIL: Milreis to Cruzeiro

In Brazil this week an event took place which to students of finance had the same rare value as an eclipse of the sun has to astronomers. By decree the country changed its monetary system from the complicated, 1,000-unit milreis to the streamlined, decimal-pointed cruzeiro (cross)—worth the same amount. Idea was to straighten out a currency system grown so complicated as to baffle even Brazilians. Examples:

> Coins ranging from a hundred reis (smallest unit recently made, worth half a U.S. cent) to five milreis (25¢) come in 25 different sizes. At...

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