President Dilma Rousseff said on Friday that her cash-strapped government could consider tapping into Brazil's sizeable foreign reserves at a given moment, an idea that troubles investors already worried about the country's economic decline.
In an interview with the online news service UOL, Rousseff said she was neither for nor against using Brazil's international reserves, which total about $370 billion.
But she added: It's not sacred. There are moments in which that could become an option to be considered.
Her comment appeared to be a change of stance for Rousseff, who recently told reporters that the use of the reserves was not being considered by her government.
Most in her economic team share that view, but with Brazil in its worst recession in decades and with a growing fiscal deficit to boot, Rousseff is under pressure from her leftist Workers' Party to ditch austerity and spend more, including some of the international reserves.
Economists warn that would stoke already high inflation, weaken Brazil's currency further and create greater uncertainty for investors following the loss of Brazil's investment-grade credit rating in December.
The Real recovered slightly on Friday to 4.10 to the dollar from 4.16 on Thursday, its lowest closing level since the currency was created in 1994.