Brazil to avoid the recession?
Brazil is no stranger to economic crises. In the 1970s and '80s, Latin America's economic giant turned financial mismanagement into an art form. The current global turmoil has not left Brazil unscathed: stock prices, exports and growth are all down. But something interesting is at work this time around...
Most Brazilians believe President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is the reason their country is surviving the current downturn better than other places. In past crises, Brazil was usually the nation in need of the largest life preserver. If it wasn't drowning under fiscal recklessness, it was being held under by draconian austerity plans.
Brazil, the old joke goes, is the country of the future — and always will be. Now, in the middle of the worst global downturn for decades, Brazil could finally be the country of the moment. According to a recent study by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD), Brazil may be the only one of 34 major economies that avoids recession in 2009.
While the U.S. debates whether to nationalize its crippled banks, Brazil's remain comparatively sound. Oil companies worldwide are slashing investment, but Brazil's state-run Petrobras is going ahead with a four-year, $174 billion expansion plan. "Brazil," Lula boasted to TIME, "is riding the current crisis better than many developed countries."
By Tim Padgett and Andrew Downie
Time Magazine - 19 Mar 2009