Brazil Records Its Worst Economic Performance in 25 Years

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Brazil’s economy, measured in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), contracted by 4.1 percent in 2020, less than in the other largest regional economies, partially thanks to subsidies paid until December to millions of Brazilians to face the COVID-19 pandemic, according to official data released Wednesday.

The result is somewhat better than the 4.2 percent average contraction forecast shortly before the end of 2020. The only sector that registered growth last year was agriculture (2 percent), while industry lost 3.5 percent and services fell 4.5 percent, according to the official statistics institute IBGE.

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On the demand side, investment fell by 0.8 percent, and household consumption fell by 5.5 percent.

In current values, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Latin America’s largest economy totaled the equivalent of some 1.43 trillion dollars, with per capita GDP registering a 4.8 percent decline, to the equivalent of 6,820 dollars, according to IBGE.

The fall of the 2020 economy was much less than the IMF forecast in June (-9.1 percent) and that of other regional economies, such as Mexico (-8.5 percent) or Argentina (-10 percent), thanks to pandemic aid granted by the government from April to December to a third of the 212 million Brazilians.

Nevertheless, it was still the largest drop since the beginning of the current historical series in 1996 and the third since the beginning of the 20th century, after those of 1981 (-4.25 percent) and 1990 (-4.35 percent), in the so-called “lost decade” of Latin America, according to IBGE data.

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