By Donitra Clemons, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil is only in the 22nd position among 33 countries that have reported their data for economic growth in 2012 to date. It falls behind the BRICS peers (Russia, India, China and South Africa), approaching the economies most affected by the financial crisis in Europe, like the United States (2.1 percent) and Germany (1.7 percent).

Brazil's economy is still the sixth largest despite lagging behind other BRICS growth, photo by Ben Tavener
Brazil's economy is still the sixth largest despite lagging behind other BRICS growth, photo by Ben Tavener.

China, which grew 8.1 percent from January to March, appears at the top of the rankings, with India in the fourth place (5.3 percent) and Russia in the fifth (4.9 percent). With increase of 2.1 percent, South Africa is the 14th in the rankings, eight positions ahead of Brazil.

At the bottom, which is Greece (in 33rd place with a decline of 6.2 percent in quarterly GDP), are still Portugal (32 placement and a decrease of 2.2 percent), Italy (31 place and GDP negative 1.3 percent) and Holland (30th place, whose GDP shrank 1.1 percent).

Alex Agostini, chief economist at Austin Rating, which compiled the data for the ranking of GDP in the first quarter explained: “This is a result of structural problems (Social Security, tax structure, lack of long-term planning) that persist in the country, whose solution has postponed government after government.”

Even with the economy almost stagnant in the first quarter, Brazil has managed to stay ahead of the UK as the sixth largest economy in the world. But the difference separating them at the end of last year, is now very small according to the new data reported.

With the rise of the dollar against the real over the past two months, he points out, the country most likely go back to seventh position.

“There was no change in ranking compared with the result closed in 2011 […] But the effect of undervalued exchange rates should be higher in the second quarter,” said Luciano Rostagno, chief strategist at WestLB.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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