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    Brazil Economy 1998

      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. Prior to the institution of a stabilization plan - the Plano Real (Real Plan) in mid-1994, stratospheric inflation rates had disrupted economic activity and discouraged foreign investment. Since then, tight monetary policy has brought inflation under control - consumer prices increased by less than 5% in 1997 compared to more than 1,000% in 1994. At the same time, GDP growth slowed from 5.7% in 1994 to about 3.0% in 1997 due to tighter credit. The strong currency, another cornerstone of the Real Plan, has encouraged imports - contributing to a growing trade deficit - and restrained export growth. Brazil's more stable economy allowed it to weather the fallout in 1995 from the Mexican peso crisis relatively well. Record levels of foreign investment have flowed in, helping support the Real Plan through financial shocks in October-November 1997 that occurred in the wake of the Asian financial crisis. These shocks caused Brazil's foreign exchange reserves to drop by $8 billion to $52 billion and the stock market to decline by about 25%, although it still ended up more than 30% for the year. President CARDOSO remains committed to defending the Real Plan, but he faces several key challenges domestically and abroad. His package of fiscal reforms requiring constitutional amendments has progressed slowly through the balkanized Brazilian legislature; in their absence, the government continues to run deficits and has limited room to relax its interest and exchange rate policies if it wants to keep inflation under control. Some foreign investors remain concerned about the viability of Brazil's exchange rate policy because of the country's fiscal and current account deficits. The government thus has to contend with the possibility of capital flight or a speculative attack that could draw down foreign reserves to a critical level and force a devaluation.

      GDP purchasing power parity - $1.04 trillion (1997 est.)

      GDP - real growth rate 3% (1997)

      GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $6,300 (1997 est.)

      GDP - composition by sector
      agriculture: 13%
      industry: 38%
      services: 49% (1995)

      Inflation rate - consumer price index 4.8% (1997)

      Labor force
      total: 57 million (1989 est.)
      by occupation: services 42%, agriculture 31%, industry 27%

      Unemployment rate 7% (1997 est.)

      revenues: $87.5 billion
      expenditures: $96 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1996)

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

      Industrial production growth rate 4.5% (1997 est.)

      Electricity - capacity 57.64 million kW (1995)

      Electricity - production 264.895 billion kWh (1995)
      note: imported about 36.95 billion kWh of electricity from Paraguay

      Electricity - consumption per capita 1,878 kWh (1995)

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

      total value: $53 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
      commodities: iron ore, soybean bran, orange juice, footwear, coffee, motor vehicle parts
      partners: EU 28%, Latin America 23%, US 20%, Argentina 12% (1996)

      total value: $61.4 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
      commodities: crude oil, capital goods, chemical products, foodstuffs, coal
      partners: EU 26%, US 22%, Argentina 13%, Japan 5% (1996)

      Debt - external $192.9 billion (December 1997)

      Economic aid
      recipient: ODA, $107 million (1993)

      Currency 1 real (R$) = 100 centavos

      Exchange rates R$ per US$1 - 1.120 (January 1998), 1.078 (1997), 1.005 (1996), 0.918 (1995), 0.639 (1994); CR$ per US$1 - 390.845 (January 1994), 88.449 (1993)
      note: on 1 August 1993 the cruzeiro real (CR$), equal to 1,000 cruzeiros, was introduced; another new currency, the real (R$) was introduced on 1 July 1994, equal to 2,750 cruzeiro reais

      Fiscal year calendar year

      NOTE: The information regarding Brazil on this page is re-published from the 1998 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Brazil Economy 1998 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Brazil Economy 1998 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 21-Dec-01
    Copyright © 2001 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)