Brazilian GDP Grows 5.1% in 2008

However GDP for 2009 is predicted to be just 1.8%

Reaching 2.9 trillion reals (US$1.25 trillion), Brazil's gross domestic product grew by 5.1% in 2008, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) said on March 10.

GDP per capita grew by four percent during the one-year period to stand at 15,240 reals (US$ 6,590), the IBGE said. The investment rate grew 19% last year and was the highest since the IBGE began calculating it in 2000.

The figures showed that Brazil was enjoying strong growth for much of last year, but that the global financial crisis that broke wide open in September sharply put the brakes on that. Brazil's GDP fell 3.6% in the fourth quarter of last year from the previous quarter, the largest such decline since 1996.

Economists expect Brazil's GDP growth for this year will be just 1.8%.

Although there were signs the economy's slide was stabilizing, numbers were still down dramatically. Industrial output in January slumped a record 17.2% compared to the same month last year. Car production has picked up this year, but was still lower than before the crisis, and sales remained just about flat despite $3.5 billion in state incentives for consumers.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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