Friday, May 28th 2004 - 21:00 UTC

Brazil's economy slow to pick up

Brazil's economy expanded 2,7% during the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2003, cutting three consecutive negative quarters. Compared to the last quarter of 2003 the economy grew 1,6%.

The performance of the different sectors was as follows: agriculture 3,3%; industry 1,7% and services 0,4%. However domestic consumption and investment continue to lag according to the latest report from the Brazilian Geography and Statistics Institute.

Investment expanded 2,3% compared to the last quarter of 2003 and 2,2% over the same period last year.

Domestic consumption increased 0,3% in the first quarter of 2004 compared to the previous quarter and 1,2% over the same period a year ago.

Exports continues to be the most dynamic sector of the Brazilian economy with a 19,3% expansion between the first quarter of 2003 and 2004, and 5,6% between the last quarter of 2003 and the first of 2004. Brazil managed a surplus record in 2003 and is expected to beat its own achievement this year.

But Brazilian economists point out that if the government's 3,5% growth target for 2004 is to be achieved, the economy must expand the rest of the year 3,8%.

The accumulated growth of the last four quarters still indicates that the Brazilian economy is stagnant with zero growth, and domestic consumption and investment remain negative with -2,3% and -5,7% respectively.

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