By William Jones, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On the day before Carnival 2014 officially kicks off, the Brazil received good news: the country’s economy officially grew by 2.3 percent in 2013. This is according to figures from the end of the fourth quarter, which showed GDP (all goods and services produced in the country) was up 0.7 percent from the previous three months.
The percentage growth – recorded by the IBGE (Brazil’s Institute of Geography and Statistics) – is well above the estimates of economists from banks and consultancy firms, which ranged from a decline of 0.2 percent to an increase of 0.5 percent, with some economists suggesting that the economy might even dip into recession.
The positive news sent a wave of relief through the Brazilian government, which has struggled to keep worries over the economy at bay this year, especially for President Dilma Rousseff who faces a reelection battle at the end of this year.
The country’s Finance Minister Guido Mantega said he was “surprised” at the figures released today, but has pledged to introduce new economic stimulus programs to keep the world’s seventh largest economy firing on all cylinders. “It was a surprise, even for the government,” he said.
Mantega affirmed the government will still take new measures to kickstart the slowing economy this year. “There will be the implementation of new stimulus in 2014. [Stimulus packages from] 2011 and 2012 are still working but the measures do not take effect immediately. What has been done will be harvested later.”
He cited the exploitation of the Libra pre-salt oil field, which will generate investments by 2017 as well as other coming infrastructure projects. “In the case of roads,” said Mantega, “the result will be faster, even in the next six months. We have done auctions, electric power and oil will bring an additional US$80 billion in investments in the coming years,” he said.
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