Brazil’s currency has plummeted to an all-time low and borrowing costs have tightened viciously after Standard & Poor’s slashed the country’s debt to junk status, warning that the budget deficit has reached danger levels.

The downgrade is a painful blow to a nation that thought it had finally escaped the Latin American curse of boom-bust cycles and joined the top league of rich economies.

It is the second of the big emerging market (EM) economies to be stripped of its investment grade rating this year after Russia crashed out of the club in January. Little remains of the BRICS allure that captivated the world seven years ago, and now looks like a marketing gimmick.

The Brazilian real tumbled to 3.90 against the US dollar as markets braced for parallel moves by Fitch or Moody’s. The currency has lost 31pc of its value this year and more than 60pc since early 2011, when slums in the favelas of Rio were selling for the price of four-bedroom houses in the US.

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