Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Indicators for construction, agribusiness, real estate, FDI, and entrepreneurship are all pointing in a positive direction.
Recent reports and index rankings have shown decisively that Brazil’s economy is recovering after its recent recession. Although investment still seems to be on hold to some degree, the employment rate grew by over 12 percent and inflation fell considerably, ending 2017 at 2.94 percent. In addition, the SELIC interest rate fell from 13.75 to 7 percent, and this year has fallen to 6.5 percent, the lowest rate since 1986.
Brazil’s trade balance is also showing positive trends. The surplus of R46.9 billion ($14.4 billion) in January 2018 was the largest in the historical series since December 2001. In addition, total revenue reported by the Federal Revenue Service was R155.6 billion ($47.7 billion) in January 2018. The figure is the highest monthly total since 2014 and represents real growth of 10.1 percent over the same period in 2017.
Construction, one of the segments most severely affected by the recession, has begun to grow again, causing business confidence to improve considerably (57.2 points in January, the highest level since early 2014) and stay well above the historical average of 52.8 points. The construction industry's capacity utilization level also rose to a record 60 percent in January. The industry in general is expected to grow in 2018, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics.
Brazil’s agribusiness sector continues to advance, and has proven to be one of the strongest sectors in the Brazilian economy. The recovery of commodity prices such as soybeans and corn alone in the last three months of 2017 contributed 1 percent growth in GDP. This factor, combined with the optimism of entrepreneurs, an improvement in agricultural credit availability and the expectation of strong harvests in 2018, is boosting the confidence of agribusiness producers and the entire industry.
During the recession, Brazilians’ savings diminished and so did their income. These important indicators of economic growth have already turned around and logged the first growth recorded since 2013.
Brazil had also seen a persistent and pronounced negative impact on its real estate market, but this market is finally expected to resume expansion and increase by 10 percent in real estate launches, according to the Housing Union of the State of São Paulo (Secovi-SP). The Brazilian Association of Real Estate and Savings Credit Institutions projects a 15 percent increase in real estate financing via savings in this year.
In contrast to the trend of the recent past, the domestic trade sector is projected to grow in 2018. According to the Brazilian Confederation of Trade of Goods, Services and Tourism, 20,700 new business establishments are expected to be opened and 26,600 jobs to be created. Also pointing to a recovery of confidence in the Brazilian economy are trends in foreign direct investment. The FDI total of $6.5 billion in January was much higher than the $3.8 billion the Central Bank predicted for the month.
Brazil’s enormously diversified economy holds opportunities for almost any business, now that the import and export markets, services and industrial sectors have either remained strong or recovered. Once again Brazil is demonstrating a capacity to overcome crisis and is showing itself to be a safe, profitable and worthwhile country to invest in.