After Zero or Negative Growth Brazil to Expand 4%, Says Veteran Guru

Delfim Netto The GDP of Brazil should expand 4% in 2010 but the performance of the economy in the first quarters of 2009 will be dismal, in the range of zero growth or even below, said economist Delfim Netto.

The man who is considered the architect of the spectacular expansion of Brazil in the seventies until the early eighties, both as Finance and Agriculture minister, said that Brazilian bankers "precipitated" on suspending financing and credit immediately following the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers.

"The Brazilian situation at the time was different to that of the rest of the world because we did not have liquidity problems in Brazil."

Delfim Netto who is a regular consultant of Brazilian presidents in financial affairs added that bankers at the time reacted cutting credit, freezing loans in an attitude which he described as a "grandeur mania."

That is Brazilian bankers preferred to look overseas believing it would be better for the international image of the country, even when it was clear that in practical terms "Brazil's financial sector was not under the same stress".

The former minister made his comments during this week's Exame Forum held in São Paulo which convened business men, economists and government officials to debate on the effects of the global crisis and reconstruction alternatives for the Brazilian and world economies.

Three Nobel laureates were also special guests of the meeting, Joseph Stiglitz, Edward Prescott and Robert Mundell.

Mercopress

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