Page last updated at 20:36 GMT, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 21:36 UK

Brazil's shares at all-time high

Traders at the Brazilian Mercantile and Futures Exchange
The upgrade is a sign of how far the economy has come in recent years

Brazil's benchmark stock market index closed at an all-time high on Wednesday after the government's debt was upgraded to investment grade.

The Bovespa rose more than 6% to close at 67,853.9 while the currency, the real, rose 2.5% against the US dollar.

The ratings agency Standard & Poor's raised Brazilian debt to BBB-, which is the lowest investment grade.

The upgrade is an important benchmark in the country's economic development, showing that its debt crisis is over.

"The upgrades reflect the maturation of Brazil's institutions and policy framework, as evidenced by the easing of fiscal and external debt burdens and improved trend growth prospects," said Lisa Schineller at S&P.

It is a far cry from the Brazil of the 1980s, which defaulted on its debt and declared a moratorium on further payments.

The upgrade is important because many funds, especially pension funds, are only allowed to buy investment grade bonds.

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