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Brazil - Open Map
Introduction | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Communication | Transportation | Military

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Economy

Economy - overview: Possessing large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries and is expanding its presence in world markets. In the late eighties and early nineties, high inflation hindered economic activity and investment. The Real Plan, instituted in the spring of 1994, sought to break inflationary expectations by pegging the real to the US dollar. Inflation was brought down to single digit annual figures, but not fast enough to avoid substantial real exchange rate appreciation during the transition phase of the Real Plan. This appreciation meant that Brazilian goods were now more expensive relative to goods from other countries, which contributed to large current account deficits. However, no shortage of foreign currency ensued because of the financial community's renewed interest in Brazilian markets as inflation rates stabilized and the debt crisis of the eighties faded from memory. The maintenance of large current account deficits via capital account surpluses became problematic as investors became more risk averse to emerging market exposure as a consequence of the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and the Russian bond default in August 1998. After crafting a fiscal adjustment program and pledging progress on structural reform, Brazil received a $41.5 billion IMF-led international support program in November 1998. In January 1999, the Brazilian Central Bank announced that the real would no longer be pegged to the US dollar. This devaluation helped moderate the downturn in economic growth in 1999 that investors had expressed concerns about over the summer of 1998. Brazil's debt to GDP ratio of 48% for 1999 beat the IMF target and helped reassure investors that Brazil will maintain tight fiscal and monetary policy even with a floating currency. The economy is expected to push growth up to 3% in 2000.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.057 trillion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 0.8% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $6,150 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 14%
industry: 36%
services: 50% (1997)

Population below poverty line: 17.4% (1990 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 0.8%
highest 10%: 47.9% (1995)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (1999)

Labor force: 74 million (1997 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: services 42%, agriculture 31%, industry 27%

Unemployment rate: 7.5% (1999 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $151 billion
expenditures: $149 billion, including capital expenditures of $36 billion (1998)

Industries: textiles, shoes, chemicals, cement, lumber, iron ore, tin, steel, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, other machinery and equipment

Industrial production growth rate: -2.6% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production: 316.927 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 4.92%
hydro: 91.02%
nuclear: 0.99%
other: 3.07% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 336.242 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 41.5 billion kWh
note: imports electricity from Paraguay (1998)

Agriculture - products: coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus; beef

Exports: $46.9 billion (f.o.b., 1999)

Exports - commodities: manufactures, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, coffee

Exports - partners: US 18%, Argentina 13%, Germany 5%, Netherlands 5%, Japan 4% (1999)

Imports: $48.7 billion (f.o.b., 1999)

Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, chemical products, oil, electricity

Imports - partners: US 23%, Argentina 12%, Germany 10%, Japan 5%, Italy 5% (1999)

Debt - external: $200 billion (1999)

Economic aid - recipient: $1.012 billion (1995)

Currency: 1 real (R$) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: reals (R$) per US$1 - 1.804 (January 2000), 1.815 (1999), 1.161 (1998), 1.078 (1997), 1.005 (1996), 0.918 (1995)
note: from October 1994 through 14 January 1999, the official rate was determined by a managed float; since 15 January 1999, the official rate floats independently with respect to the US$

Fiscal year: calendar year



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