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ECONOMY | 03-03-2021 10:26

Brazil ends new 'lost decade' with GDP drop of 4.1% in 2020

The economy of Argentina's giant neighbour registered a 4.1% contraction in 2020, according to official data.

Brazil's economy shrank 4.1 percent in 2020, officials said Wednesday, closing out what analysts called another "lost decade" for Latin America's biggest economy with a year badly disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The contraction, which was in line with analysts' forecasts, added to a bad run for a country that was just recovering from a devastating two-year recession in 2015 and 2016.

It was the third-worst annual drop in gross domestic product (GDP) on record for Argentina's giant neighbour, after 1981 (minus 4.25 percent) and 1990 (minus 4.35 percent).

Those two years bookended what economists call Brazil's "lost decade," when GDP grew just 1.66 percent on average across 10 years.

With last year's contraction, Brazil's economy grew even less for the decade from 2011 to 2020: an average of 0.3 percent.

Brazil continued its modest rebound from recession in the fourth quarter of 2020, with growth of 3.2 percent, said the national statistics institute, IBGE.

That was not enough to erase what it called "the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic" in the first half of the year, but it did mean Brazil fared slightly better than some other major economies.

However, economists have been revising down their 2021 growth forecasts for Brazil, in the face of a worsening wave of Covid-19.

Analysts polled by the Central Bank are currently predicting growth of 3.29 percent this year.


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