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Intraregional Spillovers in South America: Is Brazil Systemic After All?


  • We are grateful to Nicolás Eyzaguirre, Miguel Savastano, Charles Kramer, Luis Cubeddu, Herman Kamil, Nicolas Magud and seminar participants at the Central Bank of Colombia for their useful comments and feedback, and to Alejandro Carrión for his research assistance.


The high business cycle correlation between Brazil (the large neighbour in South America) and other countries in the region has been a frequent source of concern for policymakers, as it has been viewed as evidence of the large influence of the former country on its neighbours. This paper studies the importance of such influence, documenting trade linkages over the last two decades and quantifying spillover effects in a vector autoregression setting. We find that, after controlling for common external factors, spillovers from Brazil are only relevant for Southern Cone economies (especially Mercosur's members) and Peru, but not for the rest of South America, and these findings are consistent with the extent of trade linkages between these countries. We find also that spillovers can take two different forms: the transmission of Brazil-specific shocks and the amplification of global shocks – through their impact on Brazil's output. Finally, we also find suggestive evidence that depreciations of Brazil's currency may not have significant impact on output of its key trading partners.