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Brazil Economy

Gross Domestic Product (GDP): Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) estimated US$775 billion for 1997, as compared with US$387 billion for 1992. EIU's estimated GDP real growth rate for 1997, 3.7 percent; and 1998, 4.0 percent. Of 1995 GDP of US$717 billion, 47.3 percent generated by trade and services, 42.0 percent by industry, and 10.7 percent by agriculture.

Per Capita GDP and Minimum Wage: Per capita GDP US$5,128 (1997). GDP per capita average annual growth rate, 0.8 per-cent (1985-94). Minimum wage as of June 1995: US$108.46, or just over R$100 a month (for value of real--see Glossary), as compared with US$68.93, or R$70 a month, in July 1994, amounting to an actual increase of only 10 percent because of inflation. Minimum wage raised by 12 percent in May 1996.

Inflation: Inflation reached 50 percent per month by June 1994 and averaged 31.2 percent a month in 1994, for total of 2,294.0 percent that year. As result of Real Plan, declined to monthly rates of between 1 and 3 percent in 1995, for an annual rate of 25.9 percent. In 1996: 16.5 percent; 1997: 7.2 percent.

Employment and Unemployment: Estimated labor force in 1997: 65.5 million. Services sector employed 66 percent of women and 42 percent of men; industry, 14 percent of women and 23 percent of men; business, 15 percent of women and 15 percent of men; civil construction, 11 percent of men; other activities, 5 percent of women and 9 percent of men. Men held 61 percent of total jobs. Women's wages averaged 62 percent of those of men but declined to 54 percent in services sector. Recorded unemployment rate (includes only people actively looking for work and over age fifteen) in 1997: 5.5 percent.

Agriculture: One of world's leading exporters of agricultural products. Grain production in 1996: 73 million tons. According to estimates of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations, Brazil produced 79.4 million tons of grains (record crop) in 1995, as compared with 56.1 million tons in 1990. Center-West and South and Rondônia account for 90 percent of crops. In 1995, 81.6 million tons of crops har-vested, but producers saw their income reduced by about US$10.4 billion, or 26 percent, owing to price decreases. Country has 46.5 million hectares under cultivation, 174.1 million hectares in grazing lands, and 140.6 million hectares in arable land. Crop year runs from June to May. From 1982 to 1992, total cultivated area fell by 30 percent, but production of certain grains, in tons per hectare, increased by 14.9 percent. Agricultural sector employed 29.4 percent of labor force in 1992. It accounted for 10.7 percent of GDP in 1996. It accounts for almost 40 percent of exports. Except for wheat, Brazil largely self-sufficient in food. Each farmer feeds 3.6 city dwellers, whereas 2.5 farmers were needed to feed each city dweller in 1940. Brazil is world's largest exporter of coffee, orange juice concentrate, and tobacco, and second largest exporter of sugar and soybeans. In addition to sugar, Brazil produces a large quantity of ethanol (mainly used as fuel) from crushed sugarcane. Other important crops: manioc, corn, and rice. In addition to oranges, principal fruits are lemons, mangoes, guavas, passion fruit, and tangerines.

Industry: Capital goods (see Glossary) production increased in 1970s with creation of new companies and large capital investments in transportation, communications, and energy infrastructure. New technologically sophisticated industries begun in that decade included weapons, aircraft, and computer manufacturing and nuclear power production. Industrial growth slowed by economic crisis of 1980s. After start of Real Plan, industrial production increased vigorously by 7.5 percent from 1993 to 1994. Manufacturing accounted for 62 percent of exports in 1996. Industrial growth in 1997 was 3.9 percent.

Energy: 94 percent of current energy capacity hydroelectric. Electricity consumption expanded by 7.6 percent in 1995 (versus 4.2 percent for GDP) and by 5.7 percent in first half of 1996 (versus projected GDP growth rate of 3 percent). A dozen hydroelectric and thermal plants being privatized because electricity demand expected to outstrip supply by 1999, and state unable to pay off energy-sector debts. A blackout in April 1997 affecting 20 million people expected to become an increasingly common occurrence. Predominance of highland rivers presents great potential for hydroelectric power pro-duction. Hydropower generating potential: 106,500 to 129,046 megawatts/year, of which 24.4 percent in operation or under construction, 35.8 percent inventoried, and 39.8 percent esti-mated (1994 estimate). In 1992, of 233,682 gigawatt-hours generated, 217,782 hydroelectric, 14,454 thermal, and 1,446 nuclear. Nuclear power generation in early 1998 was still negligible. About 60 percent of energy supply derived from renewable sources, such as hydroelectricity and ethanol. National oil production surpassed a record 840,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 1997. Petroleum imports in 1995: 760,000 bpd (442,000 bpd crude; 318,000 bpd derivatives). Brazil relies on natural gas for only 2 percent of energy needs. Produced more than 17 million cubic meters of natural gas per day in early 1990s.

Services: In 1994 services accounted for approximately 43.6 percent of work force.

Trade Balance: Total trade in 1997: US$109.4 billion, com-pared with US$77.3 billion in 1994. In ten years, 1985-95, foreign trade of Brazil accounted for US$521.8 billion, with surplus of US$129.3 billion. Foreign trade deficit in 1997: US$10.9 billion.

Imports: Totaled US$60.1 billion in 1997, as compared with US$20.5 billion in 1993. Average import duties dropped to 14 percent from 51 percent since 1988. Major suppliers in 1996: United States, 22.2 percent; Germany, 9.0 percent; Argentina, 12.7 percent; and Japan, 5.2 percent. Half of Brazil's imports of manufactured goods come from United States. Brazil only other major Latin American country besides Chile to import oil, which in 1996 cost an estimated US$6.4 billion.

Exports: Totaled US$49.2 billion in 1997, as compared with US$39.6 billion in 1993. Brazil's strengthened currency has made its exports less competitive. Brazil exports large part of world's production of tin, iron, manganese, and steel. Also one of world's largest exporters of food, mainly sugar, coffee, cocoa, soybeans, and orange juice. Major markets in 1996: United States, 19.5 percent; Argentina, 10.8 percent; Japan, 6.4 percent; and the Netherlands, 7.4 percent.

Tariffs: Average tariff rate: 14.0 percent; tariff ceiling: 70 percent on automobiles (imposed in mid-1995).

Reserves: International reserves in first quarter of 1998: US$63 billion.

Budget Deficit: Current account deficit in 1997: US$32.3 billion. EIU's current account deficit estimate for 1998: US$33.6 billion.

Internal Debt: Total debt of public sector (federal, state, and municipal governments): US$77 billion (1994). Totaled record US$213 billion (36.8 percent of GDP) in 1995, according to official figures, or US$267 billion (46 percent of GDP), if some unregistered existing debts included. IBGE calculated total domestic debt to be R$304.8 billion in September 1995, or 60.9 percent of estimated 1995 GNP. Public Sector Borrowing Requirement reached 5.6 percent of GDP in 1996, as compared with 5.1 percent in 1995.

External Debt: US$177.6 billion (public and private) in 1997; US$193.2 billion estimated by EIU for 1998. Total debt service: US$15 billion (1996). Debt-service ratio: 58.7 percent (1997).

Official Exchange Rate: On July 1, 1994, new currency, the real (pl., reais), introduced. As of January 31, 1996, government widened to 7.07 percent range within which value vis-à-vis United States dollar may vary. Exchange rate on April 13, 1998: R$1.140=US$1.

Foreign Investment: US$52 billion in 1996, US$38 billion in 1995, and US$25 billion in 1994.

Fiscal Year: Calendar year.

Fiscal Policy: Stabilization program in 1994-96 developed originally by Fernando Henrique Cardoso (president, 1995- ) as minister of finance (May 1993 to April 1994). End of inflation in 1994 quickly increased demand and spending power of poorer Brazilians especially. Government endeavoring to dampen inflationary pressures. In order to consolidate stabilization program and put Brazil on path to long-term sustainable growth, government must implement wide-ranging structural reforms. Restrictive monetary policy has kept interest rates high and reduced aggregate demand and inflation, while improving trade balance. Fiscal position deteriorated considerably in 1995. Expansion of internal public debt a major threat to government's control over fiscal and monetary policy. Monetary policy somewhat more flexible since August 1995 because of lower level of economic activity, declining inflation rate, and abundance of foreign capital to finance current account.

Data as of April 1997






About Brazil
Table A. Selected Acronyms and Abbreviations
Table B. Chronology of Important Events
Transportation and Communications
Government and Politics
National Security

Historical Setting

The Indigenous Population
The Colonial Era, 1500-1815

- Frontier Expansion That Shaped Brazil
- Early Colonization
- French and Dutch Incursions
- Gold Mining Displaces Cane Farming

- The Transition to Kingdom Status
The Kingdom of Portugal and Brazil, 1815-21

The Empire, 1822-89
- Emperor Pedro I, 1822-31

- The Regency Era, 1831-40
- The Second Empire, 1840-89

The Republican Era, 1889-1985
- The Old or First Republic, 1889-1930

- The Era of Getúlio Vargas, 1930-54
- The Post-Vargas Republic, 1954-64
- The Military Republic, 1964-85

The Society and Its Environment

The Physical Setting
- Size and Location
- Geology, Geomorphology, and Drainage

- Soils and Vegetation
- Climate
- Geographic Regions

North / Northeast
South / Southeast

- The Environment
- Population Size and Distribution
- Mortality / Fertility
- Migration and Urbanization
Social Structure
Social Classes
- Gender
- Youth / Elderly
- Race and Ethnicity
- Amerindians
- Rural Groups
Cultural Unity and Diversity
- The Brazilian Way
- Language
- Mass Communications
- Family and Kinship
- Roman Catholicism
- Other Religions

Health Status and Health Care
- Indicators of Health
- Infectious and Chronic Diseases
- Nutrition and Diet
- The Health Care System
- Health Professionals and Resources
Public Health and Welfare
- Social Security

- Sanitation and Public Utilities
- Housing
- Literacy
- Primary and Secondary Schools
- Colleges and Universities
- Principal Research Libraries
Social Conflict and Participation
- Conflict and Nonviolence
- Growth of Social and Environmental Movements
- Inclusion and Exclusion

The Economy

Historical Background and Economic Growth

- The Colonial Period
The Sugar Cycle, 1540-1640
The Eighteenth-Century Gold Rush

- The Economy at Independence, 1822
- The Coffee Economy, 1840-1930
- A Period of Sweeping Change, 1930-45
- Import-Substitution Industrialization, 1945-64
- Stagnation and Spectacular Growth, 1962-80
Stagnation, 1962-67
Spectacular Growth, 1968-73

Growth with Debt, 1974-80

- Stagnation, Inflation, and Crisis, 1981-94
The 1981-84 Period
The 1985-89 Period

The 1990-94 Period

The Labor Force and Income Levels
- Employment and Earnings


- Inequality and Poverty
Structure of Production
- Agriculture
- Livestock
- Fishing
- Industry
- Mining
- Energy
Electric Power
Natural Gas
Nuclear Power

- The Services Sector

Inland Waterways
Merchant Marine

Exchange-Rate and Balance of Payments Policies
- Exchange Rates and Foreign Trade
- Capital Flows and the External Debt
Fiscal and Monetary Policy, the Public Sector, and Inflation
- Fiscal Trends in the 1980s
- Pressures on Public-Sector Expenditures in the 1980s
- Fiscal Deficits and Inflation
Brazil's Real Plan
Trade Policies
Trade Patterns and Regional Economic Integration
Economic Outlook

Government and Politics

Political Culture
Constitutional Framework
Structure of Government
- The Executive

- The Legislature
- The Judiciary
- State and Local Governments
The Political Party System
- Historical Origins and Evolution
Major Parties in Congress

Progressive Renewal Party
Brazilian Democratic Movement Party
Liberal Front Party
Brazilian Labor Party
Democratic Labor Party
Workers' Party
Brazilian Social Democracy Party
Progressive Party

Minor Parties in Congress
Party of National Reconstruction
Brazilian Socialist Party
Brazilian Communist Party
Communist Party of Brazil

- Regional Strength of the Parties
- Party Legislation
- Sarney's Presidency, 1985-90
- Collor de Mello's Presidency, 1990-92
- Franco's Presidency, 1992-94
- Cardoso's Presidency, 1995-2003
Women in Politics
The Electoral System
- The Presidential Election of 1989
- Congressional and State Elections, 1990
- Municipal Elections, 1992

- General Elections, 1994
- Municipal Elections, 1996
Interest Group Politics
- Interest Groups
- The Lobbying Process
- The Media
Foreign Relations
- The Foreign Service
- Foreign Policy Decision Making
-Multilateral Relations
- Latin America
- Europe
- The Middle East
- Africa
- Asia
- United States

National Security

The Military Role in Society and Government

- Military Rebellion and the Revolution of 1930
- From Moderator to Director, 1930-85
- The Internal Security Mission, 1964-85
- Civil-Military Relations, 1985-94
Brazil and International Conflicts, 1917-95
Foreign Military Influence
The Military Role in the Intelligence Services
- The National Intelligence Service, 1964-90
- The Strategic Affairs Secretariat, 1990-94
Defense Industries
Mission of the Armed Forces
- The Military Mission since 1988
- The Military in the Amazon
- The Military Role in Counter-Drug Actions
- Civic Action
Defense Expenditures
Organization of the Armed Forces
- Command and Control
- Brazilian Army
- Brazilian Navy
- Brazilian Air Force
Personnel and Training
- Conscription
- Ranks, Uniforms, and Insignia
- Education and Training
- Sociology of the Officer Corps
- Officer Recruitment
- Women in the Armed Forces
Security Forces
- Federal Police
- State Police
Crime and Punishment
- Crime in Brazil
- Penal Code
- Penal Institutions
Toward the Future

Science and Technology

Coming Soon!
Historical Evolution
Colonial Science
Imperial Science
Applied Science in Agriculture and Health
The Search for Alternatives
Science and Technology as Modernization, 1945-64
The Great Leap Forward, 1968-79
Science and Technology as a Pressure Group, 1979-90
The Computer Industry Policy
Science for Industrial Competitiveness
Administration of Science and Technology
The Ministry of Science and Technology
National Council for Scientific and Technological Development
The Funding Authority for Studies and Projects
The Coordination of High-Level Personnel Training
Other Activities by the Federal Government
Science and Technology in the States
The São Paulo Science and Technology System
Research and Development
University Research and Graduate Education
Research in State-Owned Corporations
Technological Research in the Private Sector
Centers of Excellence
Policy Perspectives
Nuclear Programs
The Space Program
Missile Programs
Appendix. Tables

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Carnival of Brazil
Dictionary -Transltation
Flights to Brazil
Information About Brazil
Map of Brazil
Travel to Brazil
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