By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – After two consecutive years of declines Brazil’s economy grew one percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the last quarter of 2016, according to the Brazilian Statistics Bureau (IBGE). Officials say the country’s latest GDP reveals the end of the country’s longest recession, while others continue cautious.
“Today is a historic day,” said Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles on Thursday, according to government news agency Agencia Brasil. “After two years, Brazil emerged from the worst recession of the century,” noted the Minister.
“The recession is over!” Brazil’s President Michel Temer wrote on his Tweeter account, adding, “This is a result of the measures we are taking. Brazil has grown again. And with the reforms will grow even more.”
The data shows that the latest GDP result was strongly influenced by agriculture and livestock which grew by 13.4 percent in the three first months of the year. Industry grew by 0.9 percent while and the services sector remained stable in comparison to the fourth quarter of 2016.
According to the IBGE, GDP closed the first quarter of the year at R$1.6 trillion (current values). Investment rate in the first quarter was 15.6 percent of the GDP, down from the same period last year, when it registered 16.8 percent. The savings rate was 15.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared to 13.9 percent in the same quarter in 2016.
Despite the growth some economic analysts are still cautious in calling it the end of Brazil’s recession. This includes the IBGE’s National Accounts Coordinator, Rebeca Palis, who released the entity’s results.
“It’s still early and I think it’s reasonable to wait a little longer. If you observe, it [growth] was against a base compressed by eight consecutive quarters of fall, and if we look at the bigger picture, we will see that the economy is at the same level as in 2010,” Palis said during the press conference.