Brazil's GDP grows just 0.9 per cent last year, lowest growth performance since 2009

SAO PAULO – Brazil’s gross domestic product grew just 0.9 per cent in 2012, the government said Friday.

It was the worst annual result since 2009, when the GDP contracted 0.3 per cent.

The GDP grew 2.7 per cent in 2011 and ballooned 7.5 per cent in 2010.

Brazil’s statistics bureau, known by its Portuguese acronym as the IBGE, said on its website that the country’s service sector posted the best performance last year, growing 1.7 per cent. Industrial output dropped 0.8 per cent and agricultural production fell 2.3 per cent.

The IBGE said the country’s GDP totalled 4.4 trillion reals ($2.2 trillion) last year, while per capita GDP amounted to 22,400 reals ($11,200).

At the start of 2012, the government forecast annual GDP growth of 4.5 per cent, but gradually lowered its expectations.

“Employment levels are excellent and more Brazilians are buying cars and their own homes,” Finance Minister Guido Mantega said at a news conference. “Although the GDP was lower than expected, the international crisis did not knock on the doors of Brazilian families.”

Mantega said that in the last quarter of 2012 GDP grew 0.6 per cent and that January figures show that the economy is improving.

“The scenario for 2013 is more benign,” he added.