The US Dollar/Brazilian Real pair is not a major. The base currency in this pair is the USD. USD/BRL therefore shows how many BRL it takes to purchase one USD.
The world’s prime reserve currency, the USD is the most used currency in financial transactions as well as FX trading, by far. It is obviously the very definition of a major currency.
Although it has been off the gold standard since 1971 (when President Richard Nixon suspended its convertibility to precious metals with the stroke of a pen), the USD is backed by the trust of the US (and worldwide) public, as well as by the massive size and strength of the US economy.
The US economy is defined as a “highly developed mixed economy” meaning that it covers most important verticals and it is not overly reliant on any one branch, such as commodities or manufacturing.
As far as nominal GDP goes, the US economy is indeed the biggest in the world. In regards to purchasing power parity, it is the second biggest.
The high productivity of the US economy and its well-developed infrastructure enjoy the backing provided by plentiful natural resources. Indeed, the natural resources of the country are estimated to be the second highest in the world.
The US is home to some of the world biggest and most innovative companies, as well as to its most influential and largest financial markets.
The Brazilian Real and its subdivision, the centavo, is the national currency of Brazil. The authority backing and issuing the Real is the Central Bank of Brazil.
In its current form, the Real was introduced in 1994. After its introduction, the Real achieved the feat of actually gaining value against the USD. This accomplishment was made possible by the massive foreign capital inflows into the country during the 90s.
The highest value the Real achieved against the USD was ~1.20. Since then, the exchange rate plummeted however. Despite some erratic back and forth every now and then, the trajectory of the Real’s value against the USD has been a downward-sloping one.
Naturally, Brazil’s official currency mostly derives its value from the economy of the country.
Although the nominal GDP of Brazil has been dropping lately, it still makes the economy the 9th largest in the world. That hardly comes as a surprise, considering the size of the country and its population, and the wealth of natural resources that it possesses.
Economic disparity is massive in the country. The richest 5% of Brazilians hold as much wealth as the other 95% of the country.
The Brazilian Real is a commodity currency. There are no two ways about that. Its fate (value-wise, of course) depends largely on the ups and downs of the commodity markets.
The Real has indeed been recovering nicely against the USD since the commodity markets have begun recovering as well.
What this means for traders is that the USD/BRL pair is one of interest in the midst of a commodity recovery.