Economic Trends/Outlook in Brazil

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Economic Overview

Brazil is one of the top ten world economic powers. Its cautious taxation and monetary policies, together with the necessary microeconomic reforms, have given the Brazilian economy solid basis allowing it to withstand the global economic crisis. After going through a slight recession in 2009 (-0.2%), the Brazilian economy returned to robust growth in 2010, driven by the resumption of international trade and supported by the government’s stimulus measures. Estimated at 7.5% of the GDP, Brazil enjoys the strongest growth in Latin America.

The new president Dilma Rousseff, elected in October 2010, has made a commitment to pursue the policies of the former president Lula. The growth acceleration plan launched in 2007 includes, among others measures, a vast program of infrastructure construction, support for lending and investment funding, as well as long-term fiscal measures. The government also seeks to reduce the public debt, which amounts to up to 40% of the GDP.

Despite the good economic performance, the country continues to face large social problems. Brazil remais one of the most unequal countries in the world, with strong regional disparities, while crime and criminal violence are also on the rise. The unemployment rate is at around 7% and casual employment is widespread.

Main Indicators 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
GDP (billions USD) 1,600.84e 2,090.31e 2,421.64e 2,576.24e 2,735.30e
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -0.6e 7.5e 4.5e 4.1e 4.1e
GDP per Capita (USD) 8,360e 10,816e 12,423e 13,109e 13,812e
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -2.4e -3.5e -2.5e -2.6e -2.4e
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 67.9e 66.1e 65.7e 65.0e 63.8e
Inflation Rate (%) 4.9e 5.0e 6.3e 4.8e 4.5e
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force) 8.1e 6.7e 6.7e 6.7e 6.7e
Current Account (billions USD) -24.33e -55.65e -59.88e -68.53e -
Current Account (in % of GDP) -1.5e -2.9e -2.9e -3.2e -

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database

Note: (e) Estimated Data


Main Sectors of Industry

Brazil has abundant natural resources and its economy is relatively diversified.

A major agricultural power, Brazil is the world's first producer of coffee, sugar cane and oranges, as well as one of the largest producers of soy. It also attracts many world groups in the food industry and biofuels. Brazil has the world's largest commercial livestock herd. Nevertheless, agriculture's contribution to the GDP is relatively small, accounting for only 6.6%, yet the sector represents 40% of its exports. Forests cover half of the country, with the largest ombrophilous forest in the world situated in the Amazon Basin. Brazil is the world’s fourth largest exporter of timber.

Brazil is also a great industrial country. It benefits from its mineral ore wealth and is the second world exporter of iron and one of the main producers of aluminum. As an oil producer, the Brazil is aiming to become self-sufficient in the near future. The country is asserting itself more and more in the textile, aeronautics, pharmacy, automobile, steel and chemical industry sectors. Most of the large automobile manufacturers have set up their production plants in the country. The industrial sector contributes more than quarter of the GDP.
The tertiary sector represents almost two-thirds of the GDP.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 19.3 21.4 59.1
Value Added (in % of GDP) 6.1 25.4 68.5
Value Added (Annual % Change) -5.2 -5.9 2.7

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

For more detailed background on Industries in Brazil, click here.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Mostly unfree
World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2011 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation


Country Risk

See the Country Risk Analysis Provided By Ducroire.


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