Brazil's monetary system is based on the Brazilian real (BRL). Brazilian coins, called centavos, are worth a percentage of the real. Paper money is in multiples of reals.
The Brazilian government introduced the real in 1994 as part of Plano Real, a financial reform to reduce inflation. After years of being stuck in a cycle of excessive spending and uncontrolled inflation, President Itamar Franco appointed sociologist Fernando Henrique Cardoso to the Ministry of Finance.
Cardoso's plan relied on several key factors. The government increased taxes and cut spending, indexed the economy according to the U.S. dollar, reduced tariffs, and bought more U.S. dollars to hold in reserve. His plan boosted the public's confidence in the new currency and stabilized the country's economy. The plan was so successful that Cardoso became president and held the office until 2002.