By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The industrial production in Brazil started 2017 with a monthly increase compared to the same days of the previous year, after 34 consecutive months of decline. This is welcome news in the midst of Brazil’s worst economic recession on record.
The data was released today (March 8th), in Rio de Janeiro, by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), and show that production increased 1.4 percent in January 2017 compared to January 2016, but still fell 0.1 percent compared to December 2016.
In twelve months, industrial production still accumulated a 5.4 percent decline, but it is a negative variation that has been losing intensity since June 2016, when it reached -9.7 percent.
In the last two months of 2016, production had accumulated a high of 2.9 percent. The result was that the quarterly moving average of October, November and December of 2016 indicated a 0.5 percent expansion of production. With data released today, the average results for November and December 2016 and January 2017 rose to 0.9 percent.
Of the 24 industrial sectors surveyed by IBGE, half increased production, and half decreased. IBGE considers that there were significant increases in the overall rate of petroleum products and biofuels, with a four percent expansion, and in pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical products (21.6 percent).
However the automotive, trailer and bodywork industry halted two consecutive months of highs, and fell 10.7 percent in January compared to December 2016. The data also showed computer equipment, electronics and optical sectors had grown in December and fell in January, with a decrease of 12.5 percent, and machinery and equipment, with a 4.9 percent lower production.
Yesterday IBGE reported that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Brazil closed 2016 with a retraction of 3.6 percent, making this current recession (2015-2016) the worst the country has faced since 1947 when the government started to keep track of the GDP, according to the Brazilian Statistics Bureau (IBGE). In 2015 the Brazilian economy had already retreated by 3.8 percent.