Country Economic Forecasts: Brazil

Content Type
Policy Brief
Institution
Oxford Economics
Abstract
In sharp contrast to many emergers, Brazil was still growing very robustly in Q3. But the intensification of the global crisis, and its numerous repercussions – many of which were unforeseen – since September has been so great that it has stopped the economy in its tracks. The clearest sign of this is that annual import growth, which had been growing at close to 60% mid-year, dropped to only 9.2% in November. This is an indication of the extent to which previously soaring domestic demand growth, particularly investment, has slowed. Export volumes were already weakening in Q3 and the major deterioration in the global background since then is expected to lead to exports falling by nearly 3% in 2009 as a whole. This, together with the much lower commodity prices than firms will have budgeted for and the global fall in business confidence, will cause investment to shrink in 2009 after 15% growth in 2008. Consumer spending growth is also forecast to slow significantly but should at least stay positive, helped by an expected moderation in inflation. Meanwhile, given its healthy fiscal position, the government is likely to step up its spending. Overall, GDP growth is now forecast to slow to 1.3% in 2009. Although scope for the central bank to cut interest rates remains constrained by the weak BRL and 6%+ inflation, the rapid pace of the slowdown in both Brazil and the rest of the world may lead to a substantial reduction in underlying inflation pressures. This could pave the way for interest rate cuts to start in early-2009.
Topic
Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
Political Geography
Latin America