By Doug Gray, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO - There were mixed signals from Brazilian economic experts last week as newly released figures showed a national GDP contraction for the second successive quarter. Six months of declining GDP is the standard formula for determining that a country is in recession.

Nevertheless, Finance Minister Guido Mantega was swift to calm fears, tempering the headlines with an assurance that the second half of the year would see recovery, with the prediction of solid, if not hugely impressive, growth of around 3%.

The Finance Minister has been criticized in the press for sidestepping the . . .

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