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Brazil
Country Information
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Country:
Brazil
Capital:
Brasilia
Currency:
real (BRL)

Population:
Government Type:
Riedel Research Coverage by Region

Background

Following three centuries under the rule of Portugal, Brazil became an independent nation in 1822 and a republic in 1889. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil overcame more than half a century of military intervention in the governance of the country when in 1985 the military regime peacefully ceded power to civilian rulers. Brazil continues to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of its interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, it is today South America's leading economic power and a regional leader. Highly unequal income distribution and crime remain pressing problems.

Economy

Characterized by 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. Having weathered 2001-03 financial turmoil, capital inflows are regaining strength and the currency has resumed appreciating. The appreciation has slowed export volume growth, but since 2004, Brazil's growth has yielded increases in employment and real wages. The resilience in the economy stems from commodity-driven current account surpluses, and sound macroeconomic policies that have bolstered international reserves to historically high levels, reduced public debt, and allowed a significant decline in real interest rates. A floating exchange rate, an inflation-targeting regime, and a tight fiscal policy are the three pillars of the economic program. From 2003 to 2007, Brazil ran record trade surpluses and recorded its first current account surpluses since 1992. Productivity gains coupled with high commodity prices contributed to the surge in exports. Brazil improved its debt profile in 2006 by shifting its debt burden toward real denominated and domestically held instruments. LULA DA SILVA restated his commitment to fiscal responsibility by maintaining the country's primary surplus during the 2006 election. Following his second inauguration, LULA DA SILVA announced a package of further economic reforms to reduce taxes and increase investment in infrastructure. The government's goal of achieving strong growth while reducing the debt burden is likely to create inflationary pressures.

Links

Source: Central Intelligence Agency
The World Factbook