Half of Brazilians Are Middle Class, Finance Minister Announces

Residence in Gramado, Brazil The Brazilian economy should grow by approximately 4% in 2009, despite the global crisis and its effects on the country. The guarantee was given by the minister of Finance, Guido Mantega, who attended the 28th meeting of the Economic and Social Development Council, held this Thursday, November 6, at the Planalto Palace, seat of the federal government of Brazil.

"In 2009, with all of the joint work between the private and public sectors, we will be perfectly able to ensure growth of around 4% for the Brazilian economy."

The minister stated once again that Brazil is not going to escape the economic slowdown, but that still the domestic situation is better than in countries such as France or Italy. According to him, consumption is still going strong and there is enough "fat" to allow growth.

"This is due to the emergence of a new middle class, which represents 50% of the population. We are witnessing the best primary surplus and the lowest deficit in public accounts in history," he said.

Mantega also stated that the country has over US$ 200 billion in foreign exchange reserves, even after the Central Bank of Brazil intervened in the financial market. "This does not happen often. It is a sign of strength."

The minister claimed that, in addition to foreign reserves, the Federal Reserve (Fed, the Central Bank of the United States) has made over US$ 30 billion available to Brazil, thus increasing the dollar reserves available to the country up to US$ 230 billion.

We've already seen the worst of the crisis, according to Mantega. The situation, he says, passed the acute phase and at the end of October was already showing signs of cooling down.

"Perhaps we can already see a light at the end of the tunnel. I just hope it's not  a locomotive coming from the opposite direction", said the minister, good-humored.

ABr

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