UN Hints Brazil May Grow a Mere 0.5% in 2009

Itajaí­ port in Brazil São Paulo, Brazil's stock exchange, the Bovespa,  suffered a heavy fall this Monday, December 1st, amid domestic and international pessimism. New studies see Brazil growing at a much lower rate, in 2009, than previously forecasted.

Bovespa's main index, the Ibovespa, went down 5.07% closing the day at 34,740 points. State-controlled oil multinational Petrobras and mining giant Vale saw their stocks reduced by over 7%.

A series of projections about the Brazilian economy released this Monday showed that economists are expecting a deceleration for the next year. The financial market, through a Focus report, is now for the first time forecasting a Gross Domestic Product increase (GDP) of below 3% in 2009.

A UN study says that Brazil may grow a dismal 0.5% in the coming year. And a report by investment bank Morgan Stanley suggests that Brazil may get into a recession early next year, i.e., going through two consecutive quarters of negative GDP.

The flood in the southern state of Santa Catarina, which has caused 114 deaths and left about 80,000 people without home, is also wreaking havoc at Brazil's exports.

According to the Foreign Commerce secretary of the Development Ministry,  Welber Barral, Brazilian exports fell US$ 370 million in November due to products that couldn't be shipped through the  Itajaí­ port, in Santa Catarina, which has been severely damaged by the rainfall.

"Itajaí­'s port," said Barral, "is extremely important. It is the country's second largest container port. It is much more important for exports than for imports. From it are shipped products with bigger added value, like manufactured goods."

Surplus

Trade surplus widened in Brazil in November as imports fell more than exports, the trade ministry said this Monday, December 1st.
Brazil posted a trade surplus of US$ 1.61 billion in November after a US$ 1.2 billion October surplus, government data showed, bringing to US$ 22.43 billion the surplus for the year to date.

Brazil's trade surplus has widened in six of this year's months and narrowed in five.

Exports fell to US$ 14.75 billion in November from US$ 18.5 billion in October while imports eased to US$ 13.14 billion from US$ 17.31 billion.

Investors are closely watching Brazil's trade balance for signs that sagging global commodity prices could sharply reduce exports.

Brazil's trade balance is expected to close the year at a surplus of US$ 23.6 billion, according to the latest central bank survey, having fallen in 2007 for the first time in seven years to US$ 40.04 billion.

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