BRASïLIA (AFP) – Brazil’s economy exited recession with growth of 0.1 per cent in the third quarter, the government said Friday, a tepid result that is nevertheless welcome news for struggling President Dilma Rousseff.
The data came a day after Rousseff, who has battled to reignite growth in the world’s seventh-largest economy, named a new economic team featuring market-friendly bank executive Joaquim Levy as finance minister.
The finance ministry welcomed the news, underlining that the industrial sector had posted growth of 1.7 per cent.
“The economy has begun the process of returning to growth, albeit at a still-modest pace,” it said.
The services sector has also started to expand again, said the government statistics institute.
However, compared with the same period last year, GDP was still down 0.2 per cent in the third quarter.
Brazil’s economy contracted by 0.2 per cent in the first quarter and 0.6 per cent in the second, officially entering recession.
The malaise forced Rousseff onto the defensive as she waged a hard-fought re-election battle last month.
Fending off opponents’ attacks of her economic record with promises to take a new policy direction, she narrowly won a new four-year term, which starts in January.
The president is deeply unpopular with the business community and markets, not least owing to heavy government intervention in economic policy.
Her government is also mired in a huge corruption scandal at state-owned oil giant Petrobras, which has already led to the arrests of a clutch of top businessmen amid claims that dozens of politicians, chiefly Rousseff allies, received massive kickbacks on contracts.