Brazil’s economy grows 1.2 pct in first quarter of 2021

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro wears a mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of a ceremony where his nation's flag is projected in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday

Brazil’s economy, the largest in Latin America, grew 1.2 percent in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the previous quarter, rebounding to pre-pandemic levels, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) said on Tuesday.

Brazil’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose 1 percent from January to March in 2021 compared to the same period of 2020, marking its first expansion following four contractions in a row, according to an IBGE report.

Taking into account the last four quarters, GDP declined 3.8 percent compared to the previous four quarters.

GDP grew in the first quarter despite a second wave of infections of the novel coronavirus disease, because unlike last year, “there were not so many restrictions that prevented the operation of economic activities,” the IBGE said.

“With the first quarter results, GDP returned to the level of the fourth quarter of 2019, the pre-pandemic period,” it added.

The agricultural sector grew 5.7 percent, industry 0.7 percent, and services 0.4 percent, while government spending declined 0.8 percent and household consumption dipped 0.1 percent.

Lower household consumption was blamed on a decrease in emergency aid granted last year by the government due to the pandemic.

Compared with the fourth quarter of 2020, imports increased by 11.6 percent, investments by 4.6 percent, and exports by 3.7 percent.

First quarter growth has confirmed the country’s economy is recovering from the blow of the pandemic, which led the economy to shrink 4.1 percent in 2020.

The financial market expects Brazil’s economy to grow 3.96 percent in 2021, while the government forecasts 3.5 percent growth for the year.

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