U.S. banks made spectacular first-half profits in Brazil after a 50% devaluation there, and Brazilians are charging that speculation against their currency was responsible.

Chase Manhattan Corp.'s affiliate in Brazil reported a 200% return on equity in the half, and Citigroup Inc. 92%. The two New York-based banks were the third- and fourth-most-profitable in Brazil, according to rankings compiled by Engenheiros Financeiros & Consultores, a Sao Paulo-based financial consulting firm.

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