Brazil exits recession with fastest growth rate since 2013

Brazil's Temer tells businessmen he will remain on the job
Crisis around Temer Increases Uncertainty over Brazilian Economy
Author

02 June, 2017

It said record grain harvests boosted the economy in the first three months of the year and that the period's GDP came to about $500 billion.

Gross domestic product grew 1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2016, when the economy shrank 0.5 percent.

Poor economic situation was worsened by several political scandals and economists warn that the latest one involving President Michel Temer has the potential to derail the economic recovery.

But Temer celebrated: "Brazil has left the recession", he said.

But that narrative is being undercut by a corruption crisis that threatens to bring down Temer and cast the country's political class into ever greater turmoil. Services were flat and while that was an improvement on negative growth, it also signaled a lack of confidence by a public battered by unemployment and continuously falling family consumption.

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The better numbers "do not yet signify a tendency". Already the key Selic rate has dropped from 14.25% in October to 11.25% in April. By comparison, unemployment in April past year was 11.2 percent, while back in December 2013 only 6.2 percent were unemployed. The move was spurred by Brazil's struggling economy and below-target inflation, according to the central bank's statement announcing the cut.

Until a couple of weeks ago the market consensus was for a 1.25 percentage points cut to the Selic, but in Valor financial daily's survey of 41 experts, 35 now forecast a one percentage point reduction.

The recording of a conversation between Temer and Batista lasts around 40 minutes and has the two men discussing politics and economics, before addressing the bribing of former Speaker Eduardo Cunha to buy him silence.

A delay or further watering down of Temer's pension reform could hit business and consumer confidence and hamper efforts to close a fiscal deficit that soared past 10 percent of GDP previous year.

Temer, whose term runs out at the end of 2018, has said he does not mind being unpopular as long as he gets the reforms through and he has been lucky to enjoy a large majority in Congress.


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