Brazil's Finance minister, Guido Mantega, talking to reporters said that Brazil is expected to overtake France and become the fifth largest economy by 2015. According to Mantega, the prediction of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is that Brazil reaches the position in 2015.
However, in his view, this can happen "a while before" because of the difficulties that European countries must face in coming years due to the financial crisis.
"Our growth rate is twice that of European countries. Therefore, it is inevitable that we surpass France, and who knows, maybe Germany, if the country doesn't improve its performance," said the minister.
For him, economic growth in Europe over the next year should be about 2% and in Brazil, from 4% to 4.5%.
Brazil has been "consolidating itself among the nations that grow most for some time," said Mantega, commenting a study disclosed by the Center for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), which placed Brazil as the sixth main economy in the world, ahead of the United Kingdom.
"This is something that has come to stay, as we observe that several countries in the world are in a crisis and will continue growing slowly, as is the case with the European nations. [We] have become the sixth economy in the world on overtaking the United Kingdom and have chances to continue overtaking other European nations, which are going to continue slow for years to come," said the minister.
Mantega also added that the challenges for Brazil are to maintain the dynamism and "face the problems that this crisis [in Europe] puts us in". Among the problems, the minister mentioned the lack of international credit and the growth of "predatory competition".
According to the minister, Brazil may reach 2015 as the fifth largest economy in the world, if the economy continues growing. "We may expand our growth average and exceed 4% in coming years," he said.
To Mantega, despite now being the sixth economy in the world, Brazil cannot yet be considered a developed economy. "We must improve the standard of living. We must also improve health, education and provide greater chances for people to buy their own homes. We still face many challenges to reach the European standard."
The latest World Economic League Table also shows Asian countries moving up and European countries falling back.
The CEBR also predicts that the UK economy would overtake France by 2016. It also says the Euro zone economy would shrink 0.6% in 2012 "if the Euro problem is solved" or 2% if it is not.
CEBR chief executive Douglas McWilliams told BBC Radio 4's Today program that Brazil overtaking the UK was part of a growing trend. "I think it's part of the big economic change, where not only are we seeing a shift from the west to the east, but we're also seeing that countries that produce vital commodities - food and energy and things like that - are doing very well and they're gradually climbing up the economic league table," he said.
According to the CEBR and the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Export, Brazil's GDP estimate for 2011 is 2.52 trillion dollars. Exports in 2010 totaled 201.9 billion and imports 181.6 billion. Main exports: manufactured goods, iron ore, coffee, oranges and other agricultural produce and the main trading partners, China, US and Argentina.
A report based on International Monetary Fund data published earlier this year also said the Brazilian economy would overtake the UK in 2011. Brazil has a population of about 200 million, more than three times the population of the UK.
Brazil's economy grew by 7.5% last year, but the government has cut its growth forecast for 2011 to below 3.5% after the economy ground to a halt in the third quarter, with analysts blaming the country's high interest rates and the worsening situation in the Euro zone.
And although Brazil currently sells more to China than it imports, Brazilian manufacturers have complained that their industries are being affected by cheap mass-produced goods from the Asian giant.
The CEBR also said that Russia moved up one spot in its league table to ninth in 2011, and predicted that it would rise to fourth spot by 2020. It predicted that India, the world's 10th biggest economy in 2011, would become the fifth largest by 2020.
And it said European countries would drop down the table, with Germany falling from fourth in 2011 to seventh in 2020, the UK from seventh to eighth, and France from fifth to ninth.
The World Economic League Table shows the US ranked 1 in 2011, followed by China, Japan, Germany, France, Brazil, UK, Italy, Russia and India. However for 2020 the forecast is as follows: US leads followed by China, Japan, Russia, India, Brazil, Germany, UK, France and Italy.