Brazil’s private sector was a rare silver lining as the country’ latest GDP figures showed that it was teetering on the verge of a double-dip recession. Corporate earnings at Brazilian companies were robust across many sectors, the Financial Times reported.
Profits reported at companies listed on Sao Paulo’s B3 stock exchange last year rose 40 percent year on year at 177 billion reals or $44 billion against 125 billion reals the previous year, according to data from Economicata.
The Brazil private sector was witnessing a clear movement towards growth and profits, a PE fund executive told the Financial Times. However, the figures for the wider economy were bleak across the spectrum.
Industrial and agricultural output fell 0.7 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. Fixed investment fell 1.7 percent in the first quarter. Net trade dragged growth with a 1.9 percent slump in exports and 0.5 percent rise in imports, according to figures from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
Earlier on Thursday figures from the IBGE showed that the GDP shrank by 0.2 percent, pushing the economy closer to a double-dip recession. Brazil was in a deep recession from 2015 to 2016. President Jair Bolsonaro’s efforts to jump-start the economy have been met with faction feuds-related legislative paralysis in the parliament.
Despite the strong liberal credentials of President Bolsonaro’s economics team, the ability of the new government to build a stable majority in Congress is in question. As a consequence, the approval of comprehensive reforms to stimulate the economy is also in question. Delays in further reforms could be a drag on current growth prospects as well as 2020 growth.
The pension system overhaul is the lynchpin of the Bolsonaro government’s plan to pare down the size of the state and shore up fiscal accounts. The lower house is expected to approve the pension reform late in the third quarter, savings less than 600 billion reals in a decade.
The original bill envisioned savings of more than 1 trillion reals. The pension reforms, when passed, should pave the way for the economy to grow around 2 percent a year in the short term.