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Brazil Economy in October 2014

Source: OPEC 10/29/2014, Location: South America

In September, the Central Bank held its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 11.0% for the sixth month in a row. Inflation posted a 6.4% y-o-y increase in August, signalling the fourth consecutive month of a price increase higher than 6%. It is also well above the 4.5% yearly target. As a result, the consumer confidence index fell in August to its lowest level since April 2009, posting 100.9, while data from the Central Bank indicated that the Brazilian public sector was running a budget deficit of more than R$32 billion in July. This represents the largest deficit since the financial crisis. The Brazilian trade balance recorded a $939 million deficit in September of 2014, compared with a $2,146 million surplus a year earlier. It is the first shortfall in seven months as exports contracted for the second month in a row. Exports fell 6.6% y-o-y to $19.6 billion in September, following a 4.5% drop in the previous month. When adjusted for working days, sales contracted at a faster 10.2%. Meanwhile, imports rose 9% on the year to $20.5 billion. Considering the first nine months of 2014, the country’s trade deficit widened to $690 million in September compared with a $249 million gap in August. Business conditions in the country’s manufacturing sector deteriorated in September for the fifth time in the past six months. The manufacturing PMI posted 49.3 in September, down from 50.2 in August, which represented the five-month high reading of the index. The survey indicated a contraction in production after August’s ramp-up. Modest reductions in new business and export orders were reported, while input costs fell for the first time in over five years. The unemployment rate in August rose to 5% y-o-y from July’s 4.9%. August’s reading represents a record low for the month as the labour market remains strong in the face of a recession in 1H14. Indicators this month point once again to a deceleration in exports accompanied by a weakening currency and worsening consumer sentiment. The manufacturing sector was back into contraction in September for the fifth time in the past six months. Recent indications obviously support the direction of the downward revisions made last month to GDP forecasts, which were 0.7% and 1.4% for 2014 and 2015, respectively. The GDP growth forecast is slightly lower this month at 0.6% for 2014 and 1.2% for 2015.

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