(c) 2013, Bloomberg News.
(c) 2013, Bloomberg News.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil's economy expanded more than forecast by all analysts in the second quarter, led by a jump in investment.
Gross domestic product expanded 1.5 percent from April to June, the most since the first quarter of 2010, the national statistics agency said Friday in Rio de Janeiro. That gain was bigger than forecast by the 44 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, whose median estimate was 0.9 percent. The economy expanded 3.3 percent from the same quarter last year, more than economists' 2.5 percent median estimate.
President Dilma Rousseff has promoted stimulus measures such as tax cuts and consumer credits in her struggle to pull Latin America's largest economy from its two-year slowdown. Inflation near the upper end of the government's target range may undermine the efforts to boost growth, as the central bank raises borrowing costs. The real has declined more than any other major currency in the past three months in a move that may further stoke consumer price increases.
"The second quarter was a bright spot," Carlos Kawall, chief economist at Banco J. Safra and Bloomberg's top Brazil quarterly GDP forecaster, said by phone from Sao Paulo before Friday's data was published. "Third quarter will be for sure weaker, but we have no evidence so far that that the economy has collapsed."
Gross Fixed Capital Formation, a measure of investment, jumped 3.6 percent in the second quarter over the three previous months, the national statistic agency said.
Annual inflation has remained above the midpoint of the 2.5 percent to 6.5 percent target range since central bank President Alexandre Tombini took office in January 2011, reaching a 20- month high of 6.7 percent in June. Price increases subsided to 6.27 percent in July.
Household spending rose 0.3 percent in the second quarter, after staying unchanged in the first quarter as higher prices eroded demand.
Rousseff's government has said industry will get a boost from the weaker real while simultaneously announcing a $60 billion intervention to support the currency. Budget planners set a 4 percent economic growth target for 2014 that Finance Minister Guido Mantega Thursday called "an ambitious goal."
With private banks restricting credit in the first half of 2013, public lenders stepped up their efforts, disbursing at six times the rate of their private counterparts. Brazil's development bank BNDES lent a record 88 billion reais ($37 billion) over that period, with about two-thirds going to infrastructure and industry. That will continue as lending balloons to as much as 190 billion reais this year, BNDES president Luciano Coutinho said Aug. 14.
The government plans three electricity auctions this year to draw 100 billion reais in investments and will also auction rights to the Libra offshore oilfield in October. With Brazil hosting the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament and 2016 Olympic Games, the government will seek bids on infrastructure concessions worth $46 billion for railways, $27 billion for ports, $26 billion for highways, $18 billion for a bullet train and $4 billion for airports starting next month.